Two Men Get 6 & 4.5 Years in Prison for Spreading False Info
05 Jan 2020
On December 30, 2019, the People's Court of Qixingguan District, Bijie City of Guizhou province, sentenced Zhao Mingwei to six years in prison for knowingly fabricating and disseminating false information online, and You Ze Yi to 4 1/2 years for spreading the information.
The trial found that in 2018, the defendant, Zhao Mingwei downloaded pictures from the Internet and added his own text descriptions to spread lies about sexual assault happening to children in kindergartens in Bijie, Kaili, and other places in Guizhou, and then shared the false information repeatedly via Weibo and WeChat messages.
In order to further convince others of the false information, Zhao Mingwei used two mobile phones to log in to two different WeChat accounts to virtually chat with "a kindergarten staff" and send screenshots of the chat history to others.
On May 31, 2019, Zhao Mingwei again spread the false information to his Weibo friends. This time, the information began spreading to other WeChat groups.
The defendant, You Ze Yi, saw the information in a WeChat group, and publicly posted it on his Weibo at 11:56 on June 26, 2019. At 13:26 on the same day, the police of the Kaili City Public Security Bureau contacted Yi Ze Yi to inform him that the situation was under review and asked him to delete the Weibo content. After deleting his Weibo content, You Ze Yi continued to spread the information through WeChat and other methods.
After You Ze Yi published the above information on Weibo, it was quickly reprinted by other media, websites and social platforms across the country, causing a large number of netizens to be strongly dissatisfied with the public security situation and education, civil affairs, public security and other departments in the area concerned. A number of people were extremely scared, with some even afraid to send their children to kindergartens out of fear that their children would be violated. Officials found that, as of July 11, 2019, this topic had received 907 million views and sparked 372,000 online discussions.
On June 27, 2019, Zhao Mingwei was arrested at his home in Bei Chen District, Tianjin.
The public prosecutor accused Zhao Mingwei of fabricating and intentionally spreading false information, and You Ze Yi of intentionally spreading false information. The behavior of Zhao Mingwei and You Ze Yi caused great panic in the places involved and a great waste of social resources; which seriously disrupted society. According to the relevant provisions of the Criminal Law and the Criminal Procedural Law of the People's Republic of China, these actions are punishable by a term of imprisonment of between three and seven years.
After the sentence was pronounced, Zhao Mingwei and You Ze Yi said in court that they would not appeal the decision.
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