A Beijing court found in favor of a prominent China critic who sued an internet hosting company after it closed down his website over allegedly illegal content, the Financial Times reported. A verdict issued on May 20 by Daxing district court said Beijing Xin Net had failed to prove that Hu Xingdou, an economics professor who discusses topics such as corruption and police brutality on his web page, had published illegal content. Neither did Beijing Xin Net ask Hu to change the content before closing the site, as required in its contract, the court added. Although the verdict didn’t mention the issue of free speech, it is the first time a victim of internet censorship has won a case in a Chinese court. Hu hailed the ruling as a step toward more transparent internet regulation, but was skeptical as to whether it would lead to greater freedom of speech. He received US$201 – the fee paid to Beijing Xin Net for two years of service.
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