Wow. This is simply astonishing! NO WAY!

WeChat Official Account: ExpatRights

The recent news of a WeChat group admin facing a fine of RMB10,000 has triggered hot discussion among netizens. He seems to have not broken any laws. His only offense seems to be from removing a member from his group.

Recent news has sparked fiery hot discussion among Chinese Netizens. It is a soap opera-like plot with a perplexing and troubling outcome. A high-profile man, that ran a WeChat group was charged in a civil lawsuit and fined over RMB10,000 for merely kicking someone out of his group. The plaintiff was so offended and hurt by this that he was willing to go after a judge in his own court.

The Chinese legal system ruled against a judge, and in a case involving something, many would find trivial. WeChat groups and their rules are taken seriously by the Chinese legal system. In China, losing face is also something one can sue nearly anyone over and often win.

RMB10,000 penalty for removing a member:
Mr.Liu(刘), the head judge of the Pingdu City People’s Court, lost a civil case filed against him by Mr.Liu(柳). the plaintiff, Mr.Liu(柳), filed a case against the judge because he was kicked out of a WeChat group the judge ran. The group was created for litigation services. The plaintiff apparently was kicked out for merely mentioning litigation services.

The case was brought against the judge in his very own court. This violated Chinese law, so another court was brought into rule on the case. The Qingdao Intermediate People’s Court ruled against their fellow judge and ordered him to readmit the plaintiff to the group, apologize profusely on the group for 3 consecutive days, and pay RMB10,000 in fines.

The duties and liabilities of admins

Within the WeChat app, a ‘group host’ or ‘group owner’ (群主) is an admin who has permissions to add or remove members, edit group chat information, and publish announcements. A Wechat group can hold up to 500 members. They have more power and need to be more responsible, abusing power may also bring them troubles.

Supervisory duties of WeChat group owners
a) As the manager of the group and being able to ban people, the group owner is, of course, responsible for supervision.
b) The group owner should regulate the group chat behavior and maintain the non-illegality of the group chat content.
c) For illegal content posted by the group members, the owner should warn until the group members are removed from the group chat.

Legal liability that the owner may bear
1. Civil Liability: Bad Behavior towards others
a. If the group owner promptly stops the group members from publishing content that infringes on the legitimate rights and interests of others, they will not bear civil liability for the group members who posted the inappropriate content due to fault. Otherwise, it is possible to assume joint and several liability.

2. Security Punishment: Bad Content
a. Illegal content posted by members can make the group admin liable, If the group owner does not perform the supervision duties, they may face common public security punishment.

3. Criminal Responsibility: Committing Crimes like Gambling
a. If the group members are suspected of committing crimes, if they do not exercise their supervisory duties, they will let the group members commit crimes. Subjectively, they may constitute indirect intentions and thus constitute a joint crime with the criminals.
b. The so-called indirect intention is to indicate that the behavior of oneself may result in harm to society and that it is intentionally laissez-faire, so that the psychological attitude of such a result occurs.

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