China Fines Citizen Possessing Adult Video on Computer

Slav Kandyba
CHINA — A Chinese man was fined $277 for a 30-minute adult video found on his hard drive, according to a report.

Chinese authorities were looking for “harmful information” from a new business’ IP address when they discovered the video on Ren Chaoqi’s computer, according to CNET.com.

Chaoqi told the authorities he obtained the video through BitTorrent.

The fine “has apparently ignited a controversy on some Chinese-language websites,” according to CNET, which quotes another article that details online opinion polls that are overwhelmingly in Chaoqi’s favor.

According to an Internet survey conducted by Sina.com, in which 55,259 persons voted, 96.52 percent (53,251 persons) thought that "this person did not illegaly distribute and exhibit pornographic videos and that the negligible impact should not have incurred such a heavy fine."

The report isn't clear on what law was used to fine Chaoqi. At first, it was under a law designed to punish someone for obtaining illegal revenue, but Ren told media that the video was purely for personal viewing.

Later, the citation said the offense was copying illegal material. Unless settings are specifically set up for someone to be a "leech" only, downloading from BitTorrent also includes transmitting, according to the CNET report.

Ren told a reporter he is waiting for an administrative review that he hopes will lead to a lower fine — or no fine at all.

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