Chinese web firm Tencent sued over online suicide pact
The parents of a Chinese university student who killed himself in a suicide pact arranged online via instant messaging have sued the firm which runs the popular service, a court official said today.world Updated: Oct 25, 2010 10:38 IST
The parents of a Chinese university student who killed himself in a suicide pact arranged online via instant messaging have sued the firm which runs the popular service, a court official said on Monday.
The 20-year-old man, identified by his surname Fan, responded to an invitation to commit suicide circulated by a man surnamed Zhang in June through QQ, run by Chinese Internet firm Tencent, earlier media reports said.
Fan went to Lishui in the eastern province of Zhejiang to meet Zhang, 22. The two burned charcoal in a sealed-up hotel room in an attempt to kill themselves by inhaling carbon monoxide, according to the reports.
Zhang left the hotel room after getting a headache, but Fan stayed put and died a few hours later, they said.
Fan's parents have demanded that Zhang and Tencent pay a combined total of more than 270,000 yuan (41,000 dollars) in compensation, an official at a court in Lishui, which is hearing the case, told AFP.
The couple has accused Zhang of inducing their son to commit suicide and failing to prevent his death after he himself abandoned the attempt, according to earlier reports.
They also claimed that Tencent failed to delete or block information about the suicide pact so that it could spread online.
The court, which held its first hearing on Thursday, has yet to deliver a verdict, the official said, without disclosing details of the charges.