A personal reputation infringement lawsuit targeting China's biggest blog website is to be heard in court next month, according to Nanjing Intermediate People's Court in east China's Jiangsu Province.
Associate professor Chen Tangfa, from the School of Journalism at Nanjing University, found a blog diary full of insults directed towards him on the website www.Blogcn.com, as he randomly searched the Web last June.
Chen called Blogcn's customer service department and asked them to remove K007's blog diary.
But staff rejected his request, saying they had no right to delete their users' blogs.
"We have posted a notice on our website warning our users that several kinds of things are forbidden, including reactionary and humiliating notices, but it all depends on those bloggers' self-discipline," according to a worker with Blogcn surnamed Sun.
The case will be heard at Nanjing Intermediate People's Court next month, according to Gong Da, a member of staff at the court.
Chen's case, reported by some media as the country's first lawsuit against a blog website, has provoked both approval and criticism among the public and experts.
Hu Jingnan, from Nanjing, who won a reputation infringement lawsuit last December over a blogger who insulted him, said he would support Chen in his case.
But Liu Yuanyuan, a blog user in Nanjing University, does not support the lawsuit.
"Cyberspace should be the place for us to freely express ourselves. If Chen disagrees with K007's blog diary, he could write one to explain himself in his own blog. It is offensive to let the staff of a website censor our notices," said Liu.
According to Wu Xiangyi, a researcher from Beijing-based China Internet Research Centre, related regulations require websites to censor inappropriate notices posted by its users, but many websites in China were unable to do that due to a shortage of funds and staff.
According to Chen, by taking Blogcn to court, he hopes to bring order and discipline to cyberspace.
Now boasting 16 million bloggers, China now has 52 percent of its office workers writing blogs, according to a recent survey.
(China Daily February 23, 2006)