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Man Arrested for Libel Against the State For Online Posting

On July 14, 2008 Jia, aged 31, was arrested in Shanghai on charges of criminal defamation. He was accused of fabricating and distributing a defamatory article on the Internet saying that the killer in a July 1st crime had been tortured by police and therefore lost his reproductive capacity. On July 1, Yang, age 28, killed six policemen in Shanghai. A large volume of postings on the Chinese Internet showed support and sympathy for his actions viewing him as a hero challenging State authorities.

The prosecution charged that Jia’s conduct had “seriously damaged the reputation and public image of the police, law enforcement and public security organs,” thus violating the Criminal Law, Article 246.

According to the police, Jia has admitted to having committed defamation. One commentator on a State TV program suggested that a forensic test be conducted to determine wheter Yang’s reproductive capability had indeed not been damaged. “It would speak louder than an admission [by Jia].”

The Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, Article 246 states: “Whoever, by violence or other methods, publicly humiliates another person or invents stories to defame him, if the circumstances are serious, shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, criminal detention, public surveillance or deprivation of political rights. The crime mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall be handled only upon complaint, except where serious harm is done to public order or to the interests of the State. “

Xinhua, July 14, 2008
China News, July 17, 2008