Monday, March 28, 2011

Confusion Surrounds the Status of Released Professor

Professor Xiao Chuanguo, who was previously sentenced to 5.5 month detention for masterminding brutal attacks on Fang Zhouzi and the journalist Fang Xuanchang, is recently released from prison after serving his term. The newspaper XinKuaiBao interviewed the unrepentant doctor, who continued to call Fang Zhouzi as a "mad dog."

Curiously, the reporters found Dr. Xiao Chuanguo at work in his old office at HUST, which had, supposedly, stripped all his administrative and teaching positions. The doctor did not directly answer reporter's questions on his work status, but he appeared to be busy at his work. He also disclosed that he is scheduled to travel abroad for his surgical work.

Despite a videotaped confession in which he admitted to the details of his involvement, Dr. Xiao Chuanguo now claims that he had never violated any law, nor admitted to such. He claimed that it was the media that were spreading rumors.

In response to complains of his patients, he appealed for calm and promised that he could reexamine and "fix" those who had failed to see effects of his procedure. He also blamed most doctors in China lacked sufficient expertise to understand his work.

Meanwhile, both Fang Zhouzi and Xiao Chuanguo are appealing to the highest court of China for a retrial of the attack case.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Authors Accuse Baidu of Stealing Work

On March 15, China's "Consumer Rights Day", more than 40 Chinese authors published an open letter accusing the search engine company Baidu for making their work available on its site free of charge without authorization.

Fang Zhouzi is one of the authors. He told news reporters that he could find almost all his books in the Baidu repository called Baidu Wenku. Even older books had been scanned and uploaded. Therefore, he suspected an organized and intentional effort of piracy.

According to AFP:
"Baidu has become a totally corrupt thief company," the authors said in the letter posted Tuesday on the website of government-linked China Written Works Copyright Society.

"It stole our works, our rights, our property and has turned Baidu Wenku into a marketplace of stolen goods," it said.

Baidu Wenku was launched in 2009 and allows users to read, share or download files and books, or their excerpts, for free. Readers can also purchase books from the online library -- at a much lower cost than the cover price.

All documents are uploaded by Internet users and as of November Baidu Wenku had stockpiled more than 10 million files and books, accounting for 70 percent of China's online file sharing market, according to the company's figures.

Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo said the search engine "attaches great importance to intellectual property rights protection" and had deleted "tens of thousands of infringing items" uploaded by web users.

"We promised that authors or copyright holders can report problematic content found on Baidu Library to the complaint centre ... and we will delete infringing content within 48 hours," Kuo said in a statement Wednesday.

In a disclaimer on its website, Baidu said users who uploaded the files must take on all liabilities and be responsible for compensation in any copyright disputes.

However, the writers insisted Baidu should bear responsibility, claiming the company took advantage of the uploads to "enhance its own influence, boost its stock price and increase its profits".

"We do not blame the friends who uploaded (the documents). We only blame the evil platform of Baidu," they said.

Baidu has long been criticised for flouting intellectual property rights and its MP3 search service, which provides links to free but often pirated music downloads, has drawn fire from the recording industry.

The US Trade Representative's office last month named Baidu as one of the world's top marketplaces for pirated and counterfeit goods, saying the company was enabling piracy with "deep linking" searches.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fang Zhouzi Goes to the Highest Court

Fang Zhouzi and Fang Xuanchang, the two victims (no relation) of a vicious attack masterminded by the disgraced Dr. Xiao Chuanguo, made a formal appeal to the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China yesterday, asking for a review of the previous lower court decisions which led to a five and half month detention for Xiao Chuanguo. They are appealing that the decisions contained mistakes in legal basis and that there are new evidences proving that the facts recognized by the earlier judges were in error.

The lengthy appeal document lists seven major issues:
  1. Obvious errors in the application of law and the crime. (The lower courts had settled with a minor "causing disturbance" charge while the attackers had clearly intended to kill or at least causing major injuries.)
  2. New evidences prove that previous court-recognized facts are in error. (The lower courts had accepted a hospital statement that Fang Xuanchang only suffered minor injuries while the involved doctor told a newspaper that Fang Xuanchang had lost a large amount blood and showing signs of shock and dizziness.)
  3. The lower courts made mistakes in recognizing key facts, missed important leads in the case, and confused a few facts.
  4. There are significant discrepancies in the motives of the defendant.
  5. The sentences given by the lower courts are too light for the crimes involved.
  6. On their appeal, the Intermediate Court did not factually record evidences provided by the prosecutors.
  7. The original court procedure was seriously fraud.
By the original sentence, Dr. Xiao Chuanguo is due to be released at the present time.