Translation: Judgment in the Case of Citizen Journalist Zhang Zhan's Reporting on the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak in Wuhan
People's Court of Pudong, Shanghai
(2020) Hu 0115 Criminal First Instance No. 4002
The public prosecution agency was the People's Procuratorate of Pudong, Shanghai.
Defendant Zhang Zhan, female, born [INTENTIONALLY DELETED], 1983 in Sanyuan County, Shaanxi Province, Han ethnicity, master's degree, unemployed, household registration [INTENTIONALLY DELETED], Pudong, Shanghai, residing at [INTENTIONALLY DELETED], Pudong New District, Shanghai. In August 2018, she was issued a warning by the Public Security Bureau of Hangkou, Shanghai for using the international Internet to spread incitements of subversion of state power. In April 2019, she was detained for one day by the Public Security Bureau of Pudong, Shanghai for disturbing the peace. In November 2019, she was subjected to 10 days administrative detention by the Public Security Bureau of Huangpu, Shanghai for disturbing public order. On May 15, 2020, she was taken into criminal detention by the Public Security Bureau of Pudong, Shanghai on suspicion of committing the crime of disturbing the peace, and on June 19 of the same year she was arrested in accordance with the law. She is currently being held in detention at the Pudong Detention Center in Shanghai.
Defense counsel Ren Quanniu, of the Henan Guidao Law Firm.
Defense counsel Zhang Keke, of the Hubei Peng Lai Law Firm.
In the Hu Pu No. 1 Procuratorate Criminal Indictment (2020) No. 6701 indictment the People's Procuratorate of Pudong, Shanghai charged defendant Zhang Zhan with committing the crime of disturbing the peace, and on September 16, 2020 filed a public prosecution with this Court. This Court open a case on the same day, and in accordance with the law utilized standard procedures, formed a collegial panel, and tried this case in open court. The People's Procuratorate of Pudong, Shanghai assigned Procurator Chen Gang to appear in court in support of the public prosecution, and defendant Zhang Zhan and her defense counsels Ren Quanniu and Zhang Keke participated in the proceedings. During this time the trial period was extended for three months with authorization from the First Intermediate People's Court of Shanghai. The trial has now concluded.
The People's Procuratorate of Pudong, Shanghai charged: On February 3, 2020, defendant Zhang Zhan entered Wuhan, Hubei, and subsequently published a large amount of false information in text and video through WeChat, "twitter" (Tui Te), "YouTube" (You Guan) and other online media, and she accepted interviews from foreign media "Radio Free Asia" and "The Epoch Times," and she maliciously hyped up the new coronavirus pneumonia epidemic in Wuhan. The audience was large and the influence was pernicious.
In order to substantiate the aforementioned charges, the public prosecution agency read and produced in court relevant witness testimony, forensic opinions and other documentary evidence. Based on that, it believes that Zhang Zhan should be held criminally liable for disturbing the peace, and requests this Court pass sentence in accordance with the law.
In court during the trial, defendant Zhang Zhan denied the offenses charged in the indictment. Her defense counsel raised an objections to jurisdiction, and believed that problems existed with the evidence in this case, and that it was not possible to confirm that the information in the text and videos dispatched by defendant Zhang Zhan could be deemed false information, and the the texts dispatched by defendant Zhang Zhan were a record of her personal experience in Wuhan, and there was no fabricated false information, and even if there are certain errors or omissions in the content, it is still within a tolerable range, and the defendant should not be held criminally liable for disturbing the peace.
It was ascertained at trial: On February 3, 2020, defendant Zhang Zhan entered Wuhan, Hubei, and subsequently published a large amount of false information in text and video through WeChat, "twitter" (Tui Te), "YouTube" (You Guan) and other online media, she accepted interviews from foreign media "Radio Free Asia" and "The Epoch Times," and she maliciously hyped up the new coronavirus pneumonia epidemic in Wuhan. The audience was large and the influence was pernicious.
On May 14, 2020, defendant Zhang Zhan was apprehended and brought to justice in Wuhan, Hubei.
The aforementioned facts were produced and examined in court, and were substantiated by this Court based on the following evidence:
1. The testimony of witnesses Huang Qian, Chen Youwen, Cheng Yi, Hou Li, Hao Junfeng, and Wang Gongxi and photographs of relevant articles confirmed that in mid-February 2020 Zhang Zhan used WeChat to send to them and others commentary articles with content that pertained to Wuhan's prevention and control of the novel coronavirus infectious pneumonia epidemic.
2. The testimony of witnesses He Guangyun and Ge Xingfu and WeChat images of articles confirmed that Zhang Zhan posted in her friends circles many documentary and commentary articles with content that pertained to Wuhan's prevention and control of the novel coronavirus infectious pneumonia epidemic.
3. The testimony of witnesses Wang Dingbang and Zhang Ming and WeChat images of articles confirmed that Zhang Zhan posted in her friends circles and WeChat groups many documentary and commentary articles that pertained to the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus infectious pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan.
4. The testimony of witness Jiang Fan and the summary of donated materials issued by the Dadongmen Community Residents Committee of Shouyi Road, Wuchang District, the collection of mask materials, the distribution of donated vegetables, the detailed list of distribution of Shouyi Road Street, and the distribution of materials confirmed by Jiang Fan as Wuhan The Secretary of Dadongmen Community, Shouyi Road, Wuchang District, provided a detailed explanation of the epidemic prevention measures, personnel composition, community material supply, government subsidies, and nucleic acid testing in the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus infectious pneumonia epidemic in the community where he is located.
5. The testimony of witness Yang Yi confirmed Yang Yi, as a community security team member of Shouyi Road, Wuchang District, Wuhan City, provided a detailed explanation of the epidemic prevention measures, personnel composition, management methods, distribution of epidemic prevention materials, and nucleic acid testing in the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus infectious pneumonia epidemic in the community where he is located.
6. The testimony of witness Hu Xiaoping confirmed Hu Xiaoping, as an ordinary community resident in Wuchang District, Wuhan City provided a detailed explanation of the epidemic prevention measures, management personnel, distribution of epidemic prevention materials, distribution of daily supplies, and nucleic acid testing in the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus infectious pneumonia epidemic in the community where he is located.
7. The testimony of witness Sun Weijun and relevant WeChat chat records, tomb sales slips, resident death medical proof (inference) certificates confirmed Sun Weijun, as a staff member of Wuhan Longquanshan Xiaoenyuan Co., Ltd. at the Longquanshan Xiaoenyuan Cemetery during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus infectious pneumonia epidemic in Wuhan provided a detainled explanation of the the cemetery sales work process, actual situation and government subsidies. At the same time, he also provided an explanation of the nucleic acid testing carried out in Wuhan during the epidemic.
8. The testimony of witness Zhang Xiaobing confirmed that he is a shopkeeper at the Chuangxiang Shuzhu in Wuchang District, Wuhan. After the outbreak of the novel coronavirus infectious pneumonia epidemic in Wuhan, the government department required his stores to only engage in door-to-door delivery business for epidemic prevention purposes. On March 4, 2020, the staff of the street industry and commerce department discovered that he had not strictly implemented door-to-door delivery regulations, and they decided to seize his business license. After being educated by industry and commerce personnel, he took the initiative to hand over his business license to industry and commerce law enforcement personnel. At the same time, he also provided an explanation of the nucleic acid testing carried out in Wuhan during the epidemic.
9. The search warrants, search records, seizure decision certifications, and seizure lists produced by the Public Security Bureau of Pudong, Shanghai confirmed the circumstances in which public security agency seized defendant’s mobile phone, USB flash drive, SD card, card reader and other items from defendant Zhang Zhan’s residence.
10. The Public Security Bureau of Pudong, Shanghai's remote crime scene investigation records and electronic data collection and fixation list confirmed the circumstances in which the public security agency collected and affixed the content of Zhang Zhan's "twitter"(Tui Te) and "YouTube"(You Guan), and identified circumstances that did not comport with objective facts.
11. The Judicial Forensic Opinion Report of the Computer Judicial Forensic Department of the Shanghai Honglian Network Technology Company Ltd. confirmed the circumstances of its use of technical methods to collect from defendant Zhang Zhan's mobile phone relevant WeChat friend circle records, chat records, portions of notes, records of portions of "twitter" (Tui Te) posts, videos posted on "YouTube" (You Guan), as well as the number of views, comments, reposts, and likes on "The Epoch Times" and "Radio Free Asia" articles and posts on her "twitter" (Tui Te) account.
12. The relevant administrative punishment decision documents confirmed the circumstances of the defendant's recidivism.
13. The process of how the defendant came into police custody produced by the Public Security Bureau of Wuhan confirmed the circumstances in which the defendant in this case was taken into custody.
14. The population information produced by the Public Security Bureau of Pudong, Shanghai confirmed the defendant's identification.
Regarding jurisdiction in this case, an investigation found that defendant Zhang Zhan's household registration and residence is in Pudong, Shanghai, and based on the provisions of the "Criminal Procedure Law"relating to local jurisdiction, our Court enjoys jurisdiction in this case in accordance with the law.
Regarding the facts in this case, an investigation found that ordinary citizens, grassroots community workers, security personnel, and funeral workers in Wuhan provided detailed witness testimony regarding the circumstances of the specific social conditions, epidemic prevention measures, and material distribution in Wuhan during the epidemic prevention and control period in Wuhan. At the same time, some of the people who featured in content of Zhang Zhan's articles and videos also explained the actual circumstances of the facts in their witness testimony. All of the aforementioned witnesses personally experienced Wuhan's prevention and control of the novel coronavirus epidemic and participated in the situations described in Zhang Zhan's articles and videos. The content of their witness testimony is mutually corroborating, and is able to restore the objective circumstances of the Wuhan epidemic control process. The evidence collection procedures were lawful, and their content is objectively mutually corroborating, and shall be given credence. Therefore, in accordance with the facts as currently ascertained, it can be confirmed that the articles and videos Zhang Zhan posted on WeChat, "twitter" (Tui Te), and "Youtube" (You Guan) and other Internet media, as wel as content of her interviews, did not comport with the actual objective circumstances of Wuhan's actual epidemic prevention and control.
This Court finds that, during the critical period of Wuhan's prevention and control of the novel coronavirus infectious pneumonia epidemic, defendant Zhang Zhan in her capacity as a witness repeatedly used WeChat, "Twitter" (Tui Te), "YouTube" (You Guan) and other Internet media to indiscriminately fabricate and publish documentary and commentary articles and information in text, video, and other formats to distort the circumstances of Wuhan's prevention and control of the novel coronavirus infectious pneumonia epidemic. In addition, she accepted interviews with foreign media Radio Free Asia and The Epoch Times and thereby led to a large number of relevant false information to be spread on domestic and foreign information networks, newspapers ,and magazines, which in fact caused a large number of Internet users to view, comment, and forward. It confused viewers and caused severe disruption of public order, and her actions constitute the commission of the crime of disturbing the peace. With respect to the public prosecution agency's charge, the facts are clear, the evidence is reliable and copious, the offense is established, and the suggested sentence is appropriate. In order for this Court to safeguard social management order, and based on the facts, nature, circumstances, degree of social harm, and recidivist nature of defendant Zhang Zhan's crimes, in accordance with Articles 293(1)(iv) and 64 of the "Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China" and Article 5(2) of the "Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate on Several Issues Concerning the Specific Application of Law in the Handling of Defamation Through Information Networks and Other Criminal Cases," the judgment is as follows:
1. Defendant Zhang Zhan committed the crime of disturbing the peace, and is sentenced to a fixed term imprisonment of four years.
(The prison term is to be calculated starting on the day the judgment is executed, and each day in custody prior to the execution of the judgment shall count as one day of the prison term, that is from May 14, 2020 to May 13, 2024)
2. All seized tools used in this case are confiscated in accordance with the law.
If any party does not accept this judgment, they may within 10 days after the second day after receiving this written judgment bring an appeal through this Court or directly to the First Intermediate People's Court of Shanghai. A written appeal should be submitted with one original and two copies of the appeal brief.
Chief Adjudicator Ma Chaojie
Adjudicator Wang Meiling
Adjudicator Chen Wei
December 28, 2020
Clerk Yu Xiaomin
(2020)沪0115 刑初 4002号
被告人张展，女，1983年 [INTENTIONALLY DELETED出生于陕西省三原县，汉族，硕士研究生文化，无业，户籍地上海市浦东新区 [INTENTIONALLY DELETED，住上海市浦东新区 [INTENTIONALLY DELETED。2018年8月因利用国际互联网传播煽动颠覆国家政权行为被上海市公安局虹口分局处警告：2019年4月因寻衅滋事行为被上海市公安局浦东分局 处行政拘留一日；2019年 11月因扰乱公共场所秩序行为被上海市公安局黄浦分局处行政拘留十日。因涉嫌犯寻衅滋事罪于2020年5月15日被上海市公安局浦东分局刑事拘留，同年6月19日被依法逮捕。现羁押于上海市浦东新区看守所。
上海市浦东新区人民检察院以沪浦检一部刑诉(2020) 6701 号起诉书指控被告人张展犯寻衅滋事罪，于2020年9月16日向 本院提起公诉。本院于同日立案，依法适用普通程序，组成合议庭，公开开庭审理了本案。上海市浦东新区人民检察院指派检察员陈钢出庭支持公诉，被告人张展及辩护人任全牛、张科科参加诉讼。期间，经上海市第一中级人民法院批准，延长审理限期三个月。现已审理终结。
8. 证人张晓兵的证言，证实其系武汉市武昌区创享构树猪的店主。武汉市发生新型冠状病毒感染肺炎疫情后，政府部门出于防疫目的要求其店铺只能做送货上门业务。2020年3月4日，因 其未严格执行配送上门规定被街道工商部门工作人员发现后决定扣押其营业执照，其经过工商人员教育后主动将营业执照交给工商执法人员的情况。与此同时，其还就疫情期间武汉市开展的酸检测情况进行了说明。
关于本案事实，经查，在案的武汉市普通市民、基层社区工 作人员、保安人员、殡葬工作者就武汉市在防控疫情期间的武汉市具体社会情况、防疫措施、物资发放等事实做了详细的证言， 同时张展文章视频所记录内容的部分当事人也在证言中说明了事实的真实情况。上述证人均是武汉市防控新型冠状病毒感疫情过程的亲历者、张展文章视频记述情况的参与者，相关证言內容也相互印证，能够还原出武汉市防疫过程的客观情况，相关证据取证程序合法，内容客观且能相互印证，应当可以采信。故根据现查明的事实可以证实张展通过微信、“twitter”(推特)、“YouTube”(油管)等网络媒介发布的相关文章、视频及接受采访内容均与武汉市实际防控疫情的客观实际情况不符。
本院认为，被告人张展在武汉市防控新型冠状病毒感染肺炎疫情的关键期间，以亲历者的身份多次通过微信、“twitter”(推特)、“YouTube”(油管)等网络媒介以文字、视频等方式肆意编造、发布内容为歪曲武汉市防控新型冠状病毒感染肺炎疫情情况的记录性、评论性文章及信息并以此接受境外媒体“自由亚洲电台”、“大纪元”的采访，导致相关虚假信息在境内外信息网络、 报刊媒体上大量散布，并实际引发大量网民观看、评论、转发， 混淆视听，造成公共秩序严重混乱，其行为已构成寻衅滋事罪。 公诉机关指控的事实清楚，证据确实充分，罪名成立，量刑建议适当。本院为维护社会管理秩序，根据被告人张展犯罪的事实、性质、情节和对于社会的危害程度及劣迹情况，依照《中华人民共和国刑法》第二百九十三条第一款第(四)项、第六十四条， 最高人民法院、最高人民检察院《关于办理利用信息网络实施诽谤等刑事案件适用法律若干问题的解释》第五条第二款的规定， 判决如下：