Huang Jing v.s. ASUS (Updated)
CDT previously reported a piece of news, “Jailed Customer Faces Large International Enterprises.”Huang Jing (黄静), who was a female undergraduate, got jailed for the suspect of extortion, two years ago, after she tried to protect her right as an ASUS notebook customer. She was released 10 months later as the district procuratorate found no sufficient evidence to sue her. Now, she is seeking compensation from the sate and also countersuing ASUS. After the story was first revealed, many netizens expressed their anger accusing that the state and the Taiwan-based comapny ASUS cooperate together to suppress Chinese citizens’ customer right. However, as more netizens then participated in the discussion and contributed information, online opinions started to deviate as more evidence appeared not in favor of Huang Jing, especially after CCTV recently broadcasted a special report (in Chinese with a video) of the case.
Huang Jing claims that She bought an ASUS laptop for RMB 20,900 (roughly over $2000 at that time) in Feb. 2006. She faced overheating and blue screen problems immediately after she brought it home. After a few returns, an ASUS engineer finally told her that he upgraded her CPU to a better one. However, after she brought the laptop home again, she discovered that the newly replaced CPU was actually an Intel test CPU that is prohibited to sell. Huang Jing and her agent Zhou Chengyu (周成宇) then went to ASUS and asked $5 million for not making the “scandal” public. They claimed that they would use this huge amount of money to set up an anti-fraud foundation to protect customer right. After a few rounds of negotiation, ASUS finally called the police charging Huang Jing and Zhou Chengyu for extortion. Huang Jing got released from the prison 10 months after she got detained.
The story did not bring too much public attention untill Zhou Chengyu set up an website in Oct. 2008 countersuing ASUS for defamation, false accusation and selling defective products. In the begining, almost all netizens showed their anger toward ASUS and also the state. As in many other cases, there is general suspicion among people that the state tolerates many Taiwan-based companies doing bad things in China for political purposes.
However, as the online discussion got heated up later, it was found that Zhou Chengyu actually had commited fraud and been put into jail many times in his personal history. In response, Zhou said that he had already decided to be a new person, and his past history is irrelevant to this case.
It also turned out that, as ASUS later started to provide more details, Huang Jing did not tell the whole story to the public. She used a faked identity to purchase the laptop; Zhou claimed to be her lawyer negotiating with ASUS although Zhou did not have a lawyer license at all; they actually prepared a whole detailed PR plan to make their case public; and, they never talked about the anti-fraud foundation in their negotation with ASUS,
Now, many netizens turn their suspicion back to Huang Jing as she does not appear to be a normal customer, and her whole dispute with ASUS seems to aim at the $5 million purposely. Still, nobody likes ASUS. Many still insist that, despite the fact that Huang might have been too greedy, ASUS should still be condemned for putting its cunstomer into jail.