A Chinese reporter who’s been held by police for the last week has confessed to writing "unverified and untrue stories" about a company, in order to gain money and fame. Chen Yongzhou has now apologized for his actions and warned his peers to "learn a lesson" from himself.
Chen Yongzhou, a journalist with the New Express in Guangzhou, confessed that he’d continuously released a series of unverified and false reports against engineering company Zoomlion, at the request of others.
Chen said that only "one and a half" of his more than 10 reports were done after gathering information himself, while the rest were made based on provided articles.
"I did not check the content of these articles and only made minor changes. The original drafts were provided by other people." Chen Yongzhou said.
The fabrications, including loss of state assets, ugly marketing, sales and financial fraud, were widely forwarded over the Internet, causing severe social impact.
One of the articles under Chen’s name around mid-May 2003 on Zoomlion’s advertising fee, claimed the annual amount reached 513 million yuan and involved irregular marketing practices.
Zoomlion later issued a clarification statement, citing audit reports to say the highlighted amount also included the company’s travel expenses and marketing fee in 2012, while the advertising fee only accounted for 20 percent of the total.
But the report led to trading in Zoomlion shares in Shenzhen to be suspended for two days.
"I knew they made a deliberate misinterpretation out of context after I saw the topic. But I didn’t expect such severe consequences. Then I became afraid of getting into trouble." Chen Yongzhou said.
Chen also said what he had done met the middleman’s expectation and he received "rewards" ranging from thousands of yuan to tens of thousands of yuan from September 29th, 2012 to August 8th, 2013.
"I’m willing to confess. I would like to apologize to the Zoomlion, the company’s stock investors and my own family members. I also struggled. On the one hand is the professional ethics, on the other hand is benifits. It’s very hard to get both of them, and I’m very regretable." Chen Yongzhou said.
Chen was detained on October 18th, under suspicion of damaging business reputation. His detention, and his newspaper’s campaign for his release, have made international news.
The case is now under further investigation.