Court favors Chinese professor in case against blog site

A Chinese journalism professor won a lawsuit against a blog hosting site that refused to remove remarks criticizing him by one of its users, state media, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

It was believed to be the first time that a person in China had sued a blog host for defamation. The professor was identified as Chen Tangfa, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The site, Blogcn.com, was ordered to pay Chen 1,000 yuan ($126) in damages and post a formal apology on its home page in a ruling handed down Wednesday by a court in the eastern city of Nanjing, Xinhua said.

Blogcn had argued it had no right to delete the comments from the blog, but a spokesman, Fang Huaifeng, was quoted by Xinhua as saying that it would now review every complaint received and delete material deemed offensive.

The posted comments, apparently written by a student of Chen's who remained anonymous, had criticized his teaching style and the materials used in his class.

Chen said he had an idea who the writer was, but had not wanted to bring him or her before a court.

Chinese Internet users had taken to blogs, known here as "bo-ke," with gusto, with about 16 million writing freeform online journals. Blogcn had accumulated close to 5 million users since it was established in late 2002, according to its official Web site, the report said.

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