Exiled Chinese Billionaire Wins Defamation Suit Over False Tweets

Washington Free Beacon | 7/12/2019 | Bill Gertz
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Dissident Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui has won a lawsuit involving tweets and YouTube videos in a rare defamation case involving American social media.

A federal jury in Alexandria, Va., awarded Guo $100,000 he had sought as a result of an online dispute with former Chinese university professor Xia Yeliang, who describes himself as a "libertarian scholar advocating constitutional democracy and rule of law in China."

Jury - Xia - Part - Countersuit - Guo

The jury also awarded Xia $5,000 as part of a countersuit against Guo for defamation, although Xia had sought $17 million in damages. The countersuit involved retweets by Guo.

Guo's defamation suit was launched last year after a series of tweets and YouTube videos posted by Xia, who has more than 286,000 followers on Twitter.

Xia - Videos - Guo - Criminal - Kidnapper

From 2017 to 2018, Xia tweeted and published videos falsely accusing Guo of being a criminal, kidnapper, and engaging in other crimes, according to court papers in the case.

During a jury trial that ended July 2, jurors ruled in Guo's favor on two types of defamation, including false charges relating to moral turpitude. The jury awarded Guo $60,000 in actual damages and $40,000 in punitive damages.

Guo - Court - Filing - Number - Tweets

Guo said in a court filing that a number of tweets and videos had caused him and his family to suffer mental anguish and economic loss. The false Xia statements had been retweeted by his followers tens of thousands of times in compounding the harm, the complaint in the case said. A number of YouTube videos also were published by Xia that contained false, misleading, and defamatory statements about Guo.

Jurors were shown nine tweets that falsely asserted Guo was a liar, rapist, swindler, and a supporter of the Communist Party of China.

Case - Guo - Xia - Figures - Trial

The case is unusual since both Guo and Xia were declared public figures in the trial, making the standard for bringing defamation charges higher. It also appears to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Washington Free Beacon
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