Chinese man wins case against Internet vigilantism

It started out as many sordid love stories do: the suicide of a wife after the discovery that her husband had been committing adultery. But after an angry classmate of the wife decided to expose the husband, Wang Fei, the story took an interesting turn, resulting in the first successful case against Internet vigilantism brought to Chinese courts. A Beijing court ruled that Wang Fei's reputation had been damaged and his privacy rights violated by the classmate, Zhang Leyi, after Zhang started a website containing diary excerpts that Wang Fei's wife had written months before she killed herself.

According to China Daily, angry Internet users who saw the website decided to track down Wang, a phenomenon known as the Chinese "Human Flesh Search Engine," wherein every detail of a person's life can be found through online searches. Within days, vigilantes had contacted the company where Wang and his mistress worked, resulting in Wang's forced resignation; users also painted expletives on the door of Wang's parents' home, and Wang's photos, addresses, and phone numbers were made public online. In the end, Zhang was ordered to pay Wang 5,000 yuan ($730) and the Beijing Lingyun Interactive Information and Technology Co Ltd, the company hosting Zhang's website, was ordered to pay 3,000 yuan ($440).

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