Updated 8:47 AM EST, Fri, Mar 05, 2021

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Web Marketing Practitioners Face Prosecution for Rumor Mongering

(Photo : CCTV)

The People's Republic of China is dead serious on punishing citizens who use the internet to spread false information and defaming other people.

Citizen Qin Zhihui will get a taste of the criminal justice system this Friday for spreading false information and maligning groups and individuals.

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Qin was formally charged before the Changyang District Court in Beijing of "creating a rumour on the internet, harming the reputation of other people, and provoking trouble," online.

Thirty year old Qin used "Qin Huohuo" as an online alias in propagating false information.

One of the false information Qin publicized claimed that a foreign passenger on board one of the trains that collided in Wenshou in the province of Zhejiang in July 2011 received a US$32.7 Million (202.6 Million yuan) as compensation for injuries and damages.

Qin also claimed that the revered hero of the Chinese Communist revolution, Lei Feng, lived a life contrary to what the public was told.

Lei Feng was a soldier under the People's Liberation Army (PLA), whose persona was used to exemplify selflessness and modesty. His alleged acts as a soldier turned his life story and works into an urban legend of sorts.

Qin claimed online that Lei lived instead a life of luxury, contrary to what the Communist Party has been saying in its propaganda.

Qin added more controversy to the scandal involving celebrity Guo Meimei, accused of living a luxurious lifestyle by pocketing and using donations to the CRC in 2011.

The defendant also claimed that officials of the Chinese Red Cross (CRC)  coerced local officials to donate to the organization instead of volunteering aid or donations. The Guo scandal and Qin's allegations tainted the trust on various charity work in China.

He also declared in his blogs that the chairperson of the China Disabled Person's Federation, Zhang Heidi, had a dual citizenship, as a Japanese national.

The statement tainted the reputation of Zhang and sectors of society condemned her for siding with the Japanese, as many Chinese citizens have not forgotten the atrocities committed by Japan against the people of China during the Second World War.

Qin Huohuo and his partner Yang Xiuyu founded in 2010 the Beijing Erma Interactive Marketing and Planning Company. Both extensively used the internet to push for marketing campaigns and were later accused of using the internet to push for black propaganda on behalf of their clients.

The web marketing company was allegedly used by Qin and Yang to aggregate subscription or hits for client websites, and paying a legion of online users to delete negative comments, 'bully' individuals or trend topics they chose.

On August 21 last year, authorities arrested the two and five employees and later placed them under investigation.

Chinese authorities claimed that the two admitted to their activities. Both said that their activities were meant to increase attention and traffic on their Erma website and promote themselves as online personalities. 

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