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Student expelled after altering classmates' photos into porn

By Jiang Chenglong | China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-20 09:18

A college student was expelled from a well-known university in Jiangsu province on Sunday after being found guilty of maliciously retouching photos of female classmates, which he posted on porn forums and captioned with abusive words of a pornographic nature.

Through investigation, the illegal behavior of the student, who is surnamed Zhao, was confirmed and he will be expelled in accordance with the regulations of Soochow University, according to a brief statement by the university.

The police have already punished the student, the brief said.

The case has been the focus of a great deal of attention on social networks over the weekend after a WeChat article was posted on Friday by a woman claiming to be a high school classmate of the perpetrator and one of Zhao's victims.

In the article, the anonymous author gave details of the case.

It stated that last May, a friend informed her someone had concocted rumors of a pornographic nature about her and uploaded photos of her and another female classmate that they had posted in their WeChat albums, to a porn forum.

Due to the nature of WeChat albums, the author concluded it was likely that it was a common WeChat friend of theirs that had downloaded the pictures, altered them and uploaded them to the porn forum.

The author called the police that night and launched her own investigation to identify the wrongdoer, which lasted six months.

During the process, she discovered that Zhao had published 11 posts involving about 10 female friends, including the author and other classmates from high school and university.

The photos were heavily retouched and captioned with insulting and obscene language and imagery, as screenshots posted with the article showed.

The author contacted some of the classmates involved and they collaborated on finding the perpetrator from among their common WeChat friends, by intentionally posting more photos and gradually restricting the range of friends able to access them.

Finally, they were able to narrow the search down to Zhao. In early January, the author confronted Zhao directly and had a 15-minute face-to-face talk during which he admitted his involvement without expressing an apology, according to the article.

In March, the author was informed by the police that Zhao would be given a 10-day detention for suspected dissemination of obscene materials, but that the punishment would be applied during the upcoming summer vacation. This would have been after his graduation had he not been expelled, according to the author, a fact that has not been well-received by many commenters online.

China Daily confirmed the detention order was issued by the police in Taihe county, Jiangxi province, where the author and the accused attended high school, but they have declined to comment on the case.

In an earlier statement released on Saturday morning, Soochow University said it had launched an investigation, a day before announcing its decision to expel Zhao. It also stated that it would bolster moral and legal education for students.

On Saturday afternoon, the author posted a follow-up article after deleting her initial piece, saying that she was "very thankful for so much concern" and hoped that "every girl and woman who experiences a sexual assault does not give up and gets justice in the end".

Guan Zhiqiang, a lawyer at the Beijing-based Hengdu Law Firm, was quoted by China News Service as saying that making up pornographic rumors infringes upon the reputation and public image of citizens, and the police have the power to fine and detain for making up and spreading such rumors.

In addition, distorting a person's image by deliberately manipulating pictures and spreading obscene information, falls under the category of criminal insult, he said.

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