Volleyball star threatens rumormongers with court

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, August 13, 2021
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Zhu Ting (R, front) of China reacts during the women's preliminary round pool B volleyball match between China and ROC at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, on July 29, 2021. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)

A post by Zhu Ting, captain of China's women's volleyball team, on Wednesday that said she will take people who have slandered her on the internet to court has drawn wide support from Chinese netizens.

A succinct statement, "The evidence was collected and notarized. Called police for investigation of criminal liabilities. Next stop, the people's court", was posted on Zhu's verified account on Chinese news aggregator Toutiao late on Wednesday night.

Two photos attached to the post showed a cover page of a notarization by the Xuhui district notary office in Shanghai and a slip issued by the Shanghai Municipal Police Bureau on Wednesday.

The slip said the bureau had received a complaint by Zhu's lawyer about alleged online rumors and would start an investigation if asked to do so by a court.

The 27-year-old volleyball star didn't refer to any specific rumor, nor did she mention whom she intended to sue. But the post had gathered more than 13,000 replies and 60,000 likes on Toutiao by Thursday evening.

China's women's volleyball team, which won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, crumbled to an unexpected ninth-place finish at the recently completed Tokyo Games after losing its first three games against Turkey, the United States and the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee.

Head coach Lang Ping said Zhu had an injury to her right wrist that greatly affected her performance in Tokyo. Out of consideration for Zhu's injury, after the team's third loss cost it any chance of qualifying for medal contention, Lang left Zhu out of the team for its two remaining matches, which it won.

Some netizens speculated that a lack of solidarity within the team had contributed to its poor performance.

But many more have shown support for Zhu, praising her for resorting to legal procedures to protect her reputation and offering commiserations for the team's performance in Tokyo.

Zheng Jian, a lawyer with Shanghai Yujun Law Firm, said that judging from the statement, Zhu might want to see rumormongers who fabricated defamatory remarks about her face criminal prosecution, which could result in them receiving up to three years' imprisonment.

"Zhu's act reflects a rising awareness among Chinese people about the protection of personality rights, which was also included in the newly enacted Civil Code," said Zheng, who focuses on lawsuits related to reputational infringement. "It is a good thing that people are protecting their rights through laws, but if the case didn't cause severe damage, it's better to go with civil litigation."

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