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Court slams online fabricators with fines, apologies for smearing war hero

By Quan Zhanfu | | Updated: 2023-12-21 20:22
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Three individuals in Hangzhou have been ordered to pay fines and issue public apologies on major media outlets for orchestrating videos that tarnished the image of revered Chinese war hero He Kexi. The fines ranged from 10,000 yuan ($1,400) to 100,000 yuan, with the court aiming to counteract the negative impact of the videos.

The videos, now deleted, portrayed He, a hero of China's resistance against Japanese aggression during the World War II, as a negative historical figure. On Nov 30, a public interest lawsuit accusing the defendants of civil defamation and infringing upon He's legal rights was filed at the Hangzhou Internet Court.

The court ruled that online content creators, particularly those with substantial followings, have a responsibility to ensure accuracy and objectivity. In this case, the defendants displayed "subjective negligence" by disseminating false information without proper verification.

Furthermore, the court found that using He's image to negatively portray him not only hurt his family's feelings but also undermined the hero's legacy and distorted historical events. This, the court concluded, contradicted China's core socialist values.

All three individuals expressed remorse in court and apologized for their actions.

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