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Slander costs woman wedding and husband

A COURT today ordered that a young woman, whom colleagues defamed by saying she had an affair, be paid more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,464).

But it was in many ways a hollow victory.

The fiance of the girl, surnamed Li, had cancelled their wedding and broken up with her because of the gossip.

Li had been in love with her fiance, surnamed Shi, for more than three years and planned a wedding in May 2008. Everything had been prepared and invitations had been sent out when Shi's mother received a call from a strange woman on March 1, 2008.

The caller said Li had had an affair with another man and she had proof of this. Shi's mother felt that the caller knew quite a lot about her future daughter-in-law and mentioned details of her work. She became suspicious and immediately called her son and Li.

Li denied having an affair and discovered that the phone number probably belonged to a colleague, Zhang Xuelan. The man alleged to be involved in the affair was a Japanese teacher in Li's company.

Li asked the company's manager to investigate. The manager found that three company employees including Zhang had planned the slander. They did this out of jealousy because Li was a better worker.
Shi and his parents met Li's three colleagues in March last year to demand the truth.

Zhang told Shi that she went on a business trip Japan in October 2007. She borrowed a computer from the Japanese teacher and accidentally saw an online chat between the teacher and Li. She thought the chat proved that Li was having an affair and copied the conversation.

Zhang said Li and the Japanese teacher had also acted intimately in photographs when they were on company outings.

Though Shi could not find anything dubious in the chat and the photographs, he decided to cancel the wedding and break up with Li anyway. His parents disliked Li and had refused to accept her after the incident.

Li, who suffered a great deal because of the break-up and and had had to resign from the company, sued the three colleagues in the Xuhui District People's Court. She accused the three of destroying her reputation.

Li said she and her parents had suffered hugely and had had to face questions from relatives and friends about the wedding cancellation. They had bought expensive dowries which were now useless.

The three defendants denied making the call and sending her online conversation to others.

But the district court said, based on the testimony and recordings Li provided, the defendants had an intention to tarnish Li's reputation. The court said they had violated the victim's privacy by reading and copying her online conversation without her agreement.

Their slander had made Li's fiance leave her and had degraded her reputation.
The defendants were ordered to apologize to Li in writing and pay 11,442 yuan in compensation.

The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court upheld the ruling today.


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