Monday, December 22, 2008

Beijing Court Sides with Fang Zhouzi on CEB Rice Case

After half a year's recess, Beijing Western District Court reached its verdict on the libel case CEB Rice had filed against Fang Zhouzi.

The court considered a laundry list of evidences provided by both sides and chose to rely on only those on which neither side had explicitly objected.

On Fang Zhouzi's claim that the science behind CEB Rice was not an original discovery, the court found it was without factual bases (to which Fang Zhouzi disputes). Nevertheless, the court concluded that the defendant's claim was within the boundary of freedom of expression and did not constitute falsehood, insult, or libel.

On whether the protein SOD could survive the rice-cooking process and be benefit to human body, the court maintained that it was still not a well-established scientific fact. The dispute on this issue was normal expressions of opinion, and therefore not libel.

Finally, the court found the defendant could have used better language in his criticism but could not find any intention or fact of libel. Therefore, the court rejected the plaintiff's case and ordered CEB Rice to pay for the court fee.

It's quite remarkable that this court has unequivocally used the "freedom of expression" clause to decide this case in Fang Zhouzi's favor.

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