Anti-rumour campaign

Guangdong blogger sues police over punishment for spreading rumours about war heroes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 7:20pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 7:22pm

A Guangdong blogger has sued local police after they accused him of circulating “rumours” about five renowned Chinese heroes, detained him for seven days and confiscated his computer, Southern Metropolis Daily reported on Thursday.

In late August, Guangzhou resident Zhang Guanghong accused the heroes of bullying local villagers on his Sina Weibo blog account. The post was reposted more than 2,500 times and garnered some 300 comments before it was deleted.

The heroic figures at the centre of the furore were Chinese Communist Party guerilla soldiers who fought against Japan in the second world war and were lauded as the “Five heroes of Langyashan” for their role in a battle at Langyashan mountain in southwestern Hebei province. Widely seen as some of China’s most distinguished Chinese war-time heroes, their heroic deeds have appeared in textbooks.

Zhang’s post caught the attention of local police who took him into custody. He was accused of circulating rumours about the heroes and “disturbing social order”, and put in detention for seven days without trial, a common punishment in China for minor offences.

On Wednesday, the case was tried in Yuexiu district. Zhang argued that the content of the post was originated by others even though he published it, the newspaper reported. He also challenged the police to prove that his post was false, and to demonstrate how social order had been disturbed as a result of it.

“Are the police making decisions based on primary school text books?” he reportedly asked the police in the court.

Yuexiu police bureau defended the legitimacy of Zhang’s punishment. “The post distorted the images of revolutionary heroes and contradicted historical facts about the ‘Five Heroes of Langyashan’. It had a harmful impact,” said a police representative in court, according to the paper.

The trial was still ongoing on Thursday.