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Army Unit Takes Internet User to Court
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A Chinese internet user was taken to court Thursday by a unit of the China People's Liberation Army (PLA) after he claimed on the internet that a PLA official had ordered a local sauna to be destroyed, Monday's Beijing-based Legal Daily reported.


Ji Shenghui, the accused netizen from north China's Hebei Province, posted a bulletin on a local BBS under the name "Changjiang750" claiming that a PLA official named Qin stationed in Shijiazhuang, capital city of Hebei, ordered soldiers under his command to smash up a lavish sauna after he broke a glass there and was charged 500 yuan (around US$62.5) for it.


The bulletin did not say when the destruction of the sauna occurred.


At a press conference Thursday, Wang Jushan, deputy director of the political department of the PLA unit, said Ji's claim was groundless slander, adding that the local police department had confirmed there hadn’t been an incident at the sauna.


The sauna involved also denied any incident in a statement on August 13 and reported the rumor to local police four days later. Wang said the bulletin had done damage to the reputation of the PLA and the official.


The bulletin has been removed from the local BBS but several different versions of the story are still going the rounds among Chinese net users.


The PLA unit demanded a public apology from Ji and 150,000 yuan (US$18,750) to compensate the official for the mental suffering he endured.


(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2006)


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