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Internet firms sentenced for publishing rumors

Updated: 2013-10-23 21:13
By Hou Liqiang (

Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court handed down sentences on Wednesday to two Internet companies that published rumors claiming a female Sinopec official had received sex bribes.

The two companies, and, published online rumors that Zhang Qin, an official at China Petrochemical Corp, also known as Sinopec Group, had received sex bribes from a construction company that later won a bid from Sinopec.

Earlier this year, Shanghai police arrested Fu Xuesheng on suspicion of spreading the false allegations. He later confessed to having spread the rumors in revenge for his company losing the bid with Sinopec.

Zhang sued the two companies, and, claiming that they had damaged her reputation.

Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court heard the case on Sept 6 and found the Internet companies guilty. On Wednesday, they were ordered to publish letters of apology on their website homepages and also in a national newspaper. was ordered to pay Zhang 30,000 yuan ($4,930) in compensation, while was ordered to pay 15,000 yuan.

Speaking at a press conference after the sentencing, Sun Mingxi, the judge in the case, said that had offered no evidence to show that its content relating to the rumors had been forwarded from other media.

Sun said that even if the rumors had been forwarded from other media, the websites that published them would have been liable. was found guilty of failing to remove the rumors from its site quickly enough after Zhang sent them a request via email, according to the court.

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