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December 25, 2009

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Court upholds ruling in human flesh search case

A WEBSITE owner has lost his appeal over China's first ruiling concerning online vigilance or the so-called "human flesh search engine."

The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court upheld a ruling ordering Zhang Leyi to pay Wang Fei 5,684 yuan (US$832.47), delete articles breaching Wang's privacy and apologize to him on the Website, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

Wang was subjected to online criticism after Zhang disclosed Wang's personal details and claimed he had contributed to his wife's suicide on December 29, 2007 because he had had an affair.

Zhang was a college friend of Wang's wife, Jiang Yan, and subscribed for a Website on January 11, 2008 with the same name as Jiang's blog after she committed suicide.

Zhang and Jiang's friends and relatives published articles in memory of Jiang and also exchanged links with some domestic Web portals.

Wang's personal information, including his name, company, and address, were gradually disclosed in stories posted on the Website and this triggered a massive search for him among Netizens who thought Jiang's death was his fault.

From then, some Netizens verbally abused Wang online while others harassed Wang and his parents at their residences.

The Chaoyang District People's Court in Beijing supported Wang's opinion that Zhang had infringed his honor and privacy, though it also criticized Wang's affair.

The court heard that Zhang's Website had spurred further searches for more information about the couple's private life.


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