Zi Beijia, a Chinese reporter who fabricated a TV news saying that Beijing dumpling makers used cardboard as a filling, was Sunday sentenced to one year behind bars with a fine of 1,000 yuan for the crime of "infringing commodity reputation".
The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court heard the case in an open court.
According to the court ruling, Zi, 28, was a temporary employee of the Life Channel of the Beijing Television Station before being arrested.
In June 2007, he visited some steamed stuffed bun stands but failed to find any cardboard-filled buns.
For pursuing career achievements, Zi, under an assumed name of Hu Yue, went to the No.13 courtyard inside Shizikou Village, Taiyanggong Township of Chaoyang District, and asked four migrant workers who had been preparing breakfast there to make meat buns for him with a lie that he will buy the stuffed buns in a large quantity.
The four meat buns makers were identified as Wei Quanfeng, Zhao Xiaoyan, Zhao Jiangbo and Yang Chunling, all from Huayin, a city in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
Then Zi came to the same venue the second time and brought cameras, pork, flour and cardboard himself.
In order to film the process, Zi is alleged to have instructed Wei and his fellow villagers to make "baozi" or meat buns by soaking and crushing discarded cardboard he had collected and mixing it with pork. The baozi were said to have been fed to dogs.
Zi used a home DVD camera to film the entire process and turned in his report after he edited it.
Zi hid the truth to the Beijing Television Station, enabling his program to be aired in a slot known as "Transparency" on July 8 at the Live Channel of the station. The program caused baneful social effects and severely ruined the reputation of the relevant commodities, according to the court ruling.
Zi pledged guilty at the court and said he was muddled-head at that moment, which cheated Beijing Television Station and the audience.
Zi made a sincere apology to the audience, Beijing Television Station and the people concerned. He advised journalistic staff to learn lessons from him and follow obey journalistic ethics.
The court held that Zi, as a temporary employee of Beijing Television Station, deliberately fabricated news and hid truth to get his program aired and caused baneful effects. His behavior of fabricating and spreading fake news has infringed the reputation of certain food and his wrongdoing was serious. The verdict was made accordingly.