A media company will pay nearly AUD$42,000 (US$29,000/ 200,000 renminbi) after hosting an article suggesting three buildings in Beijing would bring misfortune to their residents as they violated feng shui, the New York Times reported.
In a blog post published in November on a website operated by Zhuhai Shen stick Network Technology, the author claimed the three buildings developed by Wangjing Search Company resembled pigs kidneys and were “a bad feng shui layout”. The post took particular aim at Wangjing Search Company’s CEO Pan Shiyi and used edited pictures of him in the post.
The long blog article claimed businesses in the Wangjing Soho buildings were suffering due to the negative energy and bad winds at the building. “Many internet companies are not doing well in this bleak operation,” it said.
Feng shui, translated as “wind-water”, is a tradition of thought and belief with roots in ancient China that aims to maximise the energies of a place for the wellbeing, health and luck.
The buildings, designed by famed Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, are said to represent “three interweaving mountains that fuse building and landscape” and which “responds to the flows of the city”.
The buildings have earned mixed reviews.
Don’t know about its feng shui but I was there last night and the wind howls through the canyon in between those mega looking towers… oh and the bars and restaurants there close too early. ;-) #China https://t.co/8dhS2CJ88D
— Stephen McDonell (@StephenMcDonell) April 14, 2019
In the complaint lodged against Zhuhai Shen stick Network Technology, the developer argued the post had a harmful impact on its business and reputation. “We cannot accept the use of feudal superstition to slander this building,” Pan Shiyi wrote on Thursday on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform.
Beijing’s Chaoyang district court on Wednesday April 10 agreed and ruled the feng shui “superstition” was used to defame the real estate group.
The judgement said the article had used “insulting vocabulary” about Wangjing Search Company’s buildings and “carried out ‘one-sided analysis and arbitrary conclusions’,” which led readers to negatively view the company’s reputation.
“The use of Pan Shiyi’s photos without consent also violated Pan Shiyi’s portrait rights,” it added. “It is enough to conclude that the article led to the decline of Wangjing Search Company’s social evaluation.”
The Wangjing Soho project generates more than $US66 million ($92.07 million) in rent each year, according to court documents.
Court documents attributed statements to Ouyang Hua, the official on the case, who said “the media should cultivate an active and healthy, up-to-good network culture, and nourish people with socialist core values and outstanding human civilisation. Nourish the society and create a clean … cyberspace.”
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