Friday, November 30, 2007

A Victory at Beijing's High Court

It's nice to be able to start this new blog with a piece of very good news. In the morning of November 30, 2007, the People's High Court in Beijing announced its final judgment on the libel case brought on by Xiao Chuanguo.

Just about a year ago, Science magazine carried an alarming report on Fang Zhouzi's efforts and his setbacks. At the time, Fang Zhouzi was hit by three big libel cases in various courts in China, all brought by people he had exposed as fraud. The preliminary judgments had all gone against Fang Zhouzi. He was ordered by the courts to pay huge amount of fines, which, to this day, he has refused to pay.

One of the libel cases was brought by Xiao Chuanguo, a urology professor at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China. Fang Zhouzi had previously exposed him for falsifying and exaggerating his resume and achievements. (The details of the case will be described later in this Blog.) Apparently, Fang's effort dealt a fatal blow to Xiao's chance of becoming an Academician in China, a prestige Xiao had openly campaigned for himself. Angered, Xiao sued Fang in Wuhan for libel. Last November, a judge in Wuhan ordered Fang to apologize publicly and pay Xiao $3,750 in compensation. Fang Zhouzi appealed and lost again. So far, he had neither apologized nor paid any money.

Not satisfied by the ruling in Wuhan, Xiao Chuanguo brought a similar libel case against Fang Zhouzi in Beijing in January. This time, he was much less successful. In May, Beijing Intermediate Court determined that Fang Zhouzi's criticism of Professor Xiao did not constitute libel and therefore rejected Xiao's case. Xiao appealed to the Beijing High Court. Today, Beijing's High Court reached its final ruling. As such Fang Zhouzi won his first case.

Given that Fang Zhouzi had lost three other libel cases in China already and is currently defying court orders, today's victory is a small but more or less comforting one.

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