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Singer Takes BBS Portal to Court Over Sex-for-Deal Post
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Once an online star on tianyaclub.com, the biggest online community in China, Zhang Keke, a female singer who showed her photos and songs on the website before rising to stardom, recently took the BBS portal to court, reported the Beijing Times Wednesday. Zhang claims the website failed to conduct proper censorship on a post which indicated Zhang slept her way to an endorsement, trading her body for a deal, which, she says, damaged her reputation and caused her enormous emotional pain.

Zhang Keke (L) talks with her lawyer before the trial opens in Beijing Tuesday, January 22, 2007.

Zhang filed the lawsuit after she found a post on tianyaclub.com titled "A story on 18 million yuan VS a one-night stand" uploaded on May 19, 2006 by a netizen named 'Cai Ba' who wrote that Zhang Daili, which Zhang Keke claims was her used name, won an agreement with a recording company via a sex deal and later went to a hospital for an abortion.

'Cai Ba' also ran the story with photos of Zhang Keke.

Failing to find 'Cai Ba' in real life, Zhang brought tianyaclub.com to court, saying the website's failure to censor and delete the privacy-violating post caused the rumor to spread far and wide.

Zhang asked for one million yuan in compensation for mental damages, and demanded a public apology from tianyaclub.com.

Tianya's lawyer, on the other hand, believed the lawsuit was just for publicity as the singer in the post was named Zhang Danli, not Zhang Keke and there is no way the latter's reputation was tarnished.

According to tianyaclub.com, the post was blocked half an hour after it was spotted by the editor, who issued a warning to the poster as a follow-up. The post was later deleted after news of Zhang's litigation was reported.

Technically speaking, Tianya's lawyer argued, the website has installed a perfect system for content filtering and users' complaints, and will handle a post appropriately once a complaint is filed. However, Zhang Keke did not file a complaint, but contacted the media instead.

Three young people, who identify themselves as fans of Zhang Keke but denied having had any contact with her, all testified in court that the post with photos has ruined Zhang's image in their hearts, while a female employee with an advertising company said she knew from the photos that the woman the post referred to was Zhang Keke and felt disappointed at she as a fan of hers.

Zhang says Zhang Danli is recorded as a used name on her residency certificate, which is left in her hometown.

The court has allowed her a week to obtain the certificate before re-opening the trial.
(China Daily January 25, 2007)

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