Chinese professor ordered to pay student for mental damages

CHINA - A Beijing court ordered a professor at Peking University, one of the country's most famous universities, to pay 200 yuan (S$40) as compensation for mental damages to a college student whom he called "traitor" on Sina Weibo, a popular China's micro-blogging service, the Beijing News reported on Thursday.

In addition to the 200 yuan fine, Kong Qingdong, the professor who has more than 2 million followers on Sina Weibo, was asked to pay another 1,000 yuan for the litigation costs for Guan Kai, the plaintiff, and apologise for his behaviour on a newspaper distributed nationwide within seven days after the sentence.

Kong, a professor specialising in modern Chinese literature, posted an article on his micro blog on May 6 last year, which included a poem.

Guan, a student of the China Institute of Industrial Relations, commented that the poem failed to follow the rules and forms of Chinese ancient poetry.

Kong responded to Guan's comment, calling Guan "a traitor". Later Guan asked Kong why he humiliated him in words online, but Kong didn't respond.

Then Guan sued Kong, asking Kong to apologise on Sina Weibo and pay 250 yuan as compensation for mental damages and 1,000 yuan for litigation costs.

But on Wednesday, Guan said he was not satisfied with the verdict. He insisted that Kong should apologise to him on Sina Weibo, where he was insulted, and told the Beijing News that he will appeal.

According to the statistics from the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court, from 2010 to 2012, 41.5 per cent of the total 166 reputation damage cases took place online, which showed an increasing trend.

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