Teenage blogger jailed under new online rules denied compensation

A 16-year-old boy, the first person jailed for breaching a judicial interpretation covering defamatory comments online, has been refused compensation by local authorities

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 January, 2014, 12:06pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 January, 2014, 12:33pm

Local police have refused requests for compensation from a teenage blogger in Zhangjiachuan county, Gansu province, after he was detained for a week for writing online posts that cast doubt on a police investigation into the death of a local man in September.

The 16-year-old boy, referred to by his lawyers and police by the pseudonym of Yang Hui, drew national attention when he became the first person detained since a judicial interpretation was issued that month allowing the jailing of any individual who made defamatory comments online that were reposted at least 500 times.

In November, the boy filed a claim with the county’s public security bureau for compensation and an apology published on major news portals and in a local newspaper. He filed another with the public security bureau of Tianshui city, which oversees Zhangjiachuan, requesting it withdraw the decision to detain him.

You Feizhu, the boy’s lawyer, said on Sina Weibo on Thursday that Yang’s father had asked him to bring the case to court after receiving the replies from the city and county police bureaus last week.

You Feizhu said the case deserves reconsideration because Yang Hui did not make up any false facts in his posts, and the posts were not commented on or shared prior to his detention and hence did not cause public disorder. Therefore, the police’s decision to hold him for a seven-day administrative detention was wrong, the lawyer said.

“It was the police’s fault, instead of the boy’s, when the number of comments and sharing soared after his detention was reported on the media,” he said.

In September, Yang posted comments critical of local police over their handling of the death of a karaoke bar manager, whose body was found lying on a road. He also called for a protest over the matter.

Local police detained Yang on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”.