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China: Around The Nation

Police intervene after Chinese man pesters colleague online for being tight-fisted with red packets

Police say social media is public space

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 February, 2017, 5:33pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 February, 2017, 5:33pm

Police have told a man in east China that he broke the law after continuously insulting his colleague on social media for not sending out electronic red packets during Lunar New Year, mainland media reports.

The man, who is identified only by his surname Liu, from Jingjiang, Jiangsu province, berated one of his colleagues on WeChat, China’s most popular mobile social media platform, the Yangtse Evening Post reported.

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Both Liu and Wang were in a chat group that also hosted a few other colleagues.

Liu criticised his colleague in the group, Wang, for only receiving electronic red packets from him and other colleagues while failing to reciprocate.

In China, sending out digital versions of red packets on social media platform is replacing the traditional habit of giving red envelopes stuffed with cash as gifts during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Digital red packets are sent through the online payment system by WeChat, which is usually linked to one’s bank account.

Wang said he did not send out electronic red packets on January 28, the first day of the Lunar New

Year, because he had not yet linked his WeChat account to his bank account so could not send money in red packets.

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Liu, however, did not stop his tirades even after Wang decided to set up his WeChat account the next day and started sending out digital red packets to the group.

Annoyed and upset by Liu’s scorn, Wang reported he matter to the police on January 30.

The police in turn told Liu that he had broken the law by publicly insulting Wang as a chat group on WeChat was considered a public space.

Liu eventually apologised to Wang and the case was dismissed.