Qin Zhihui, widely known as Qin Huohuo (秦火火) in cyberspace, is an Internet rumormonger who created many rumors on Sina Weibo. He is the first person to appear in court on rumormongering charges since the Ministry of Public Security vowed to target those who spread online rumors in August 2013.
Born in central China's Hunan Province in December 1983, Qin found a job in Guangzhou after graduating from high school. He then went to northern China to work as text checker and backed to Hunnan to study in 2004. He came to Beijing in 2005 to work for Huayi Baichuang, a famous online marketing company. He went to online brand management company Erma in 2010 and leaved in 2011.
Qin was found guilty of spreading rumors about several celebrities including popular television hostess Yang Lan, as well as China's former Ministry of Railways, via Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like service, from 2012 to 2013.
Prosecutors said that Qin's widely spread posts included one claiming that Beijing had granted 30 million euros (41 million U.S. dollars) in compensation to a foreigner who died in a train crash in east China's Zhejiang Province in 2011.
The rumor was reposted 11,000 times and commented on 3,300 times, with Qin's fabrication inciting anger over apparent disparities in how foreigners and Chinese were compensated after the accident.
On April 17, 2014, Qin was sentenced by the Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court to two years in jail on defamation charges and another year for affray.
The court held that Qin's actions impacted society and seriously harmed social order, but said it used leniency in the sentence taking into consideration his attitude in confessing truthfully about what he did.