Family sue novelist after online abuse

A family who raised money for a girl's cancer treatment were accused of fraud by a writer who has admitted her statements were false. 

The family of a 3-year-old girl who died from cancer last year are suing a writer who accused them of not using the money raised from a funding platform on her treatment.

Wang Fengya was diagnosed with an eye tumor in October 2017. The family raised money for her treatment via online funding platform Shuidichou.

In April last year, Chen Lan, described by Minhang District People's Court as a “public interest activist,” questioned whether the family were taking advantage of the girl’s plight to make money. She said they were not active in the girl's treatment and believed that they had used some of the money to treat her younger brother's harelip.

In a later post, Chen said that a volunteer who went to help the family had gone missing after being beaten up.

The posts unleashed a torrent of abuse.

According to the court, the girl's grandfather Wang Taiyou and her mother Yang Meiqin said Chen had posted false accusations online and revealed their address. The family demanded she withdraw the claims, make an apology and pay compensation.

Chen said she had not intended to hurt them and that all her statements had a source. After she had discovered that the statements were false, she deleted them and had already made a public apology. She denied ever having released any of the family's personal information.

The two sides refused mediation and the court will give its verdict later.

In an investigation, Henan police found nothing amiss about the fundraising and Chen apologized online. The family rejected her apology and insisted on bringing the matter before the court.

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