A food blogger in Taiwan was sentenced to 30 days in jail, given two years probation and fined 200,000NT (approximately 44,800RMB) for writing a negative review of a restaurant in the city of Taichung–man and we thought our speech was limited over on the mainland.
In July of 2008, the blogger who is surnamed Liu, visited a noodle restaurant in Taichung and posted on her blog that she thought the food “was too salty, the place was unsanitary because there were cockroaches and that the owner was a ‘bully’ because he let customers park their cars haphazardly, leading to traffic jams.”
Enough customers asked about the negative review that the owner of the restaurant, Yang, took her to court over it. Unbelievably, the Taichung court that ultimately ruled on the case decided that Liu’s post was libelous. Why? Because it was written after just one dinner and therefore could not have been informed enough for such a harsh judgment. The government also sent health officials who inspected the restaurant did not find conditions to be as unsanitary as Liu wrote on her blog so the court ordered her to pay the 200,000NT to the owner for lost revenues. The decision is final.
We find this pretty frightening. God knows we at Shanghaiist have written more damning things than that a dish was too salty. We hate to think what would happen if we were called Taipeiist instead.