BEIJING, Aug. 29 -- A leading Chinese financial
newspaper has said that it is fully behind two of its journalists who have been
sued for 30 million yuan (US$3.75 million) a sum which would take an average
reporter about 600 years to earn in a defamation case filed by an iPod
manufacturer in Shenzhen.
All assets of the duo have been frozen by the
Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court pending a hearing of the suit filed by
Hongfujin Precision Industry Co, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Foxconn
Technology Group which does original equipment manufacturing for Apple Inc.
Shanghai-based China Business News said on Sunday
that the entire national press would "condemn" the "organized challenge" to
individual reporters; and warned the company to withdraw the case or face legal
Yesterday a spokesperson for Foxconn told China Daily
that there were no new developments in the case and it would not comment
Here's how the events unfolded:
On June 15, China Business News published a story by
Wang You "Foxconn workers: The machine punishes you to stand 12 hours,"
describing the alleged harsh working conditions and low pay in the Taiwan-funded
Within a week, Foxconn held a press conference
denying the allegations and invited journalists to check for themselves the
actual working and living conditions in the company.
On June 30, two of the company's representatives are
reported to have complained to Wang and Weng Bao, the former's supervisor, that
the stories cast a negative light on Foxconn; and asked them to cease writing
On July 4, the company filed a suit in the Shenzhen
court, claiming the reports were contrary to fact, misleading, damaged the image
of the company and caused great losses. The suit demanded Wang pay 20 million
yuan (US$2.5 million) in compensation and Weng, 10 million yuan (US$1.25
On July 10, the court ordered the assets of the two
journalists including real estate, automobiles, and banking deposits be frozen.
No date has been set for a hearing.
On August 17, Apple announced what it called were the
results of a 10-week investigation of Foxconn and mostly exonerated the company
of the charges made in the media.
Weng told China Daily yesterday that the newspaper
made the public statement in support of its staff after "repeated attempts" to
seek negotiation with the company were spurned.
Yang Baiguo, the newspaper's spokesman, told China
Daily that neither of the journalists had received any subpoenas or summons from
Xu Xun, legal consultant of China National Radio said
the Chinese Supreme Court made a ruling in 1993 stating that individual
reporters cannot be named as defendants in such lawsuits, and only their news
"The two reporters should have had little to worry
about, but they do have big headaches now," said Xu.
Zhao Chenyu, Party secretary of the All-China
Journalists' Association, told China Daily that her association would get
involved if the two journalists or their newspaper approached the organization.
(Source: China Daily)