November 28 — A court ruling in what has been called “China’s first court case against a Chinese Weblog” held that popular Chinese blog portal blogcn.com must post an apology to Professor Chen Tangfa (陈堂发) on its homepage for 10 days, and compensate the academic to the tune of 1,000 yuan (US$120). Professor Chen sued the blog portal after colleagues alerted him to personal attacks against him that had been posted on the site in September 2005. Chen initially asked the operator of blogcn.com, Hangzhou Blog Information Technology Co. Ltd (HBIT), to delete the posting, but the company reportedly refused. A December 3 article in Guangming Daily, a newspaper run by China’s central propaganda authorities, hailed the court’s decision as a victory in the upholding of citizens’ rights (维权). [Chinese coverage here].
November 28 — According to a report by the Chinese Communist Youth League (CCYL), the number of internet users in China had reached 123 million by mid-year 2006. Of these users, roughly 15 percent were under 18. A CCYL spokesperson said it was a positive sign for creative talent for Chinese youth to be taking enthusiastically to the Internet, but stressed that the problem of Internet addiction among youth in China was also a serious social issue. According to a related Chinese study, about 17 percent of Internet users between the age of 13 and 17 show signs of Internet addiction. The vice-minister of China’s publishing industry overseer, the General Administration of Press and Publications, announced last July that “anti-gaming addiction systems” had been successfully tested on such popular online games as “Legends” and said the system would be rolled out nationally. Development of the “anti-gaming addiction system” was completed in September 2005. The principal idea behind the system is that an individual player’s ability to play is automatically inhibited once a certain length of play has been reached.
November 29 — The chairman of the Internet Society of China said China is exploring and progressively trying out a system of “limited real-name registration” for the Internet capable of “balancing personal privacy, the public good and the national interests”, Chinanews.com reported. But it was not clear from Chinese media reports how this newly announced approach to the proposed real-name registration system differs, if at all, from previous proposals.
December 1 — In a sign of increasing openness on the issue of Aids in China, Chinese media offered a variety of coverage to commemorate World Aids Day. China’s own battle with Aids began to attract international attention in late 2000, more than a year after a young Chinese reporter named Zhang Jicheng wrote the first expose on the Aids epidemic in Henan province, the result of illegal blood selling practices in the countryside. Chinese World Aids Day coverage this year underscored sharp differences in treatment between party and commercial newspapers.
December 1 — A journalist was sentened to seven years in prison by a court in Hangzhou for attempting to extort money from companies with the threat of negative news reports. Meng Huaihu (孟怀虎), the former Zhejiang bureau chief for China Commercial Times, a business paper published by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC), was convicted for extorting 630,000 yuan from various companies and attempting to extort as much as 3.7 million yuan. [Renmin University Professor Chen Lidan Responds to Problem of News Extortion (Chinese)].
December 1 — Chinese actress Xu Qing dropped a libel suit against Guangdong’s Southern Daily Group, the publisher of Nandu Weekly magazine, and accepted an out-of-court offer by the media group pledging public apologies for an article for which it admitted it “had insufficient support”. Xu Qing filed the lawsuit against Southern Daily Group in Beijing’s Chaoyang District Court in October after Nandu, a magazine spinoff of Southern Daily Group’s Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper, ran an article on August 30 about Xu Qing’s relationships with a number of famous personalities. Nanfang Daily Group has issed an apology to readers and to Xu Qing and her father, and Nandu Weekly’s entertainment section has posted an apology on its Website. [Chinese coverage here].