China / Society

War hero awared appology, 1 yuan compensation for insult

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-09-20 16:06
BEIJING - A local court in Beijing on Tuesday ordered Internet celebrity Sun Jie and Hong Kong-based herbal drink maker Jiaduobao Group (JDB), to apologize to the family of deceased war hero Qiu Shaoyun for microblog posts that the court said infringed on Qiu's rights to reputation and honor.

Daxing District People's Court said that Sun and JDB must publicly issue apologies on five consecutive days, and pay mental compensation of 1 yuan (about 15 U.S. cents) as requested to the plaintiff Qiu Shaohua, brother of Qiu Shaoyun.

Qiu, who Chinese children are taught about at school, is a hero of the war to resist U.S. aggression and aid Korea (1950-1953).

The story goes that Qiu, 26, was concealed in the grass on Hill 391 before a general attack, but an American incendiary bomb was dropped nearby, and instead of betraying his position, and that of hundreds of fellow Chinese soldiers, he was burned to death.

Skeptical of the official story, Sun Jie mocked Qiu Shaoyun as "barbecued meat" in a post in 2013 on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, to his over six million followers, saying that "consumers refused to pay for [Qiu's meat] as it was only half roasted."

"They think the barbecued meat of Lai Ning is better," he continued, referring to a 14-year-old Chinese middle school student who died trying to help put out a forest fire in 1988.

The post caused quite a stir before Sun deleted it the next day. In April 2015, the JDB referenced the controversy again by promising in its own Weibo post to give 100,000 cans of herbal tea to Sun should he open a barbecue shop.

The beverage group issued a statement of apology quickly after the post, but Qiu Shaoyun's brother, Qiu Shaohua, filed a lawsuit against Sun and JDB in June 2015, demanding "the immediate cessation of the infringement, elimination of ill effects, apologies and mental compensation of one yuan."

In its verdict, Daxing District People's Court said Sun's comments were intentionally derogatory and humiliating.

The spread of such comments online had "a negative influence, had harmed public sentiment and undermined public interests, and had caused Qiu's family psychological damage," it said.
JDB's comments, meanwhile, had "a relatively large negative influence, and caused Qiu's family psychological damage," the verdict read.

It added that as a household name in China, JDB had failed to fulfill its obligation to exercise due discretion in its marketing campaigns and thus should bear legal responsibility.
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