The social expatriate website Shanghaiexpat.com has had a legal case against it lodged with the network security division of the Public Security Bureau in Shanghai for libel and ‘disrupting social harmony’ it has been reported today. The site, which last year celebrated its fifth anniversary, has proved popular with local expatriates yet has consistently drawn criticism for its generally negative online forums and it’s sometime racist portrayal of Chinese nationals and the general living environment in China, it has been alleged.
The complaint also alleges that libelous material has been ‘consistently’ posted on a regular basis over the past two years against a number of Shanghai based expatriate businesspeople, with no effective moderation put in place to prevent libelous material from appearing. Apparently, a number of requests to the website owners to ban the offending members from submitting articles to the domain, and to provide details of the IP addresses and other subscriber information for the filing of individual complaints against the protagonists directly were ignored, hence the eventual action against the Shanghaiexpat.com domain itself.
Additionally, the site has attracted members who have posted pornographic and provocative material – some of it highly offensive – over the past few months, which has led to at least one previous temporary shut down. Viewing the domains Open Chat forum this morning revealed the most popular thread, online for several months, purporting to be an expose of the naked and semi-exposed breasts of some of it’s female members and various Chinese female celebrities. Offensive language and racist remarks appear to be tolerated for most of the sites forums, in particular in “The Pit” section on the domain, which is specifically only available for to the websites members. Advertisers supporting the website include the University of Southern California, The London / Columbia Business School, Visit Canada, and Berlitz, amongst a variety of local restaurants, relocation businesses and consultants… [Read more]
The China Briefing blog is written by lawyers from Dezan Shira & Associates, so this news should be pretty reliable. Maybe we’ve been hanging out in the wrong sections on ShanghaiExpat.com, but we seriously don’t recall seeing porn pictures there. And as for the supposed racist remarks, well, let’s just say we have seen far worse on Chinese websites.
Still, we are concerned. Does anyone have any more details?