Chinese writer in court over 'one mistake one thousand yuan' pledge

Updated 2017-08-12 15:00:37

A Chinese writer is facing a bill of over 172 thousand yuan (almost USD 26,000) after making a promise five years ago to pay a thousand yuan for every mistake found in his book, reports Beijing News.

Zhang Yiyi published his book in February, 2012. A month later, he posted on the Weibo social media platform that "anyone who finds a mistake in my book will receive 1001 yuan."

In his post, Zhang said that various media insiders were "witness to his words".

Recently, Bai Ping, a professor of the College of Liberal Arts of Shanxi University, announced that he had found 172 mistakes in Zhang's book, which included factual errors, grammatical mistakes, and wrongly-written or mispronounced characters.

After negotiations broke down, Bai decided to sue the writer for 172,172 yuan.

The case was accepted by a court in Beijing, and received a first hearing on August 10, 2017.

During the session, Zhang's lawyer argued that the reward offered by Zhang had a time limit, albeit "not clearly stated," and suggested that the so-called 172 mistakes were too "subjective," or lacked evidence.

Bai's lawyer said he his client would accept a discount of 20%, but Zhang's lawyer said only 10,000 yuan reward was on the table.

The two sides failed to reach an agreement in court.

A similar "One mistake, One thousand yuan" dispute occurred in 2010, when Bai Ping spotted 909 errors in a book written by Chinese writer Yan Chongnian, and demanded an 850,000 yuan reward as a result.

The case collapsed after the court decided Yan's words made during an interview were meant as a "joke" rather than as a "promise".

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