China web firms sued for spreading rumors

China web firms sued for spreading rumors

Two network companies were charged at Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court on Friday with smearing a woman's reputation by spreading rumors on the Internet.

Judicial experts suggested Web portals verify information before they put it online to reduce infringements.

The woman, surnamed Zhang, an official at China Petrochemical Corp, also known as Sinopec Group, was allegedly targeted early this year by Fu Xuesheng in a rumor that she had received sex bribes from a construction company that later won a bid from Sinopec.

The two portals carried the rumor, which was forwarded online more than 110,000 times within three days.

Shanghai police detained Fu in August, who admitted that he faked the news in retaliation after his company failed to win the bid.

Zhang sued the two network companies — itxinwen.com and china.com — claiming they are also responsible for damaging her reputation.

Zhang was absent at the court hearing.

Zhu Wei, Zhang's lawyer, said his client's work and daily life has been disrupted by the rumor and asked the two companies to pay her 100,000 yuan (S$20800) in compensation.

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