Thursday, November 29, 2012

Who is Zhao Hongxia? Wrong pics in the wrong place?

photo_shanghaiist
photo_shanghaiist (Photo credit: nozomiiqel)
The name Zhao Hongxia might sound familiar by now. She is supposedly the girl who was filmed while having sex with the Chongqing official Lei Zhengfu, as part of a major extortion scheme. A minor brawl has emerged as publications, like the Shanghaiist, published pictures of a girl, along Lei Zhengfu.
Issue at stake: should publications like the Shanghaiist not have protected the identity of the girl and not have published the pictures. It is a slightly academic issue, as the pictures are all over the internet, and the Shanghaiist decision could have been justified under the qualification that this is 'news'.
Unfortunately, few publications did their home work and failed to report the pictures might have been of somebody else. This is what the Chinese publications Ifeng published, translated by EastSouthWestNorth
Xiao Lin (pseudonym), a female student at a certain university in Xiamen city, was stunned when she came across an Internet news story about the mistress of Chongqing official Lei Zhengfu: "Isn't that my photographs?"
"Who linked my photographs with the principal of the indecent photographs? And they even spread it all over the Internet?" Xiao Lin was very angry. She never imagined that even though she was faraway in Xiamen, she would be swept into the Lei Zhengfu indecent photographs incident.
"How did I become a principal in the indecent photographs case? I don't know any Chongqing Communist Party secretary. The photographs on the Internet were taken at a certain film studio which posted them on the Internet. I also have them in my personal page, but the photographs are locked up," Xiao Lin said.
Xiao Lin said that a friend told her that someone had misappropriated her photographs. By the time she got on the Internet to check, the photographs has already spread everywhere.
"This is really vexing." Xiao Lin filed a police report yesterday. The public security bureau is investigating. She also said that she reserves the right to seek legal redress.
That makes the editorial decision by Shanghaiist (and others) to not only publish those pictures along with an incriminating story dubious. Of course they should apologize to the student who has been possibly wrongly connected with this Chongqing scandal. They might also be open for claims for damages, as they have not done anything to check the validity of those pictures.
Not sure what jurisdiction would apply here, since I'm quite sure the Shanghaiist has no publishing license in China. So, they could be found in a US court, as their mother company (Gothamist LLC) is American, defending themselves against the expensive legal representatives of this Xiamen student - that is, if the story in iFeng is correct.
This story is going to have a tail, although not sure if no new twists and turn might come up.
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