Popular romance screenwriter Qiong Yao won her lawsuit against fellow screenwriter Yu Zheng for plagiarism on December 25 in the Third Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing.
The court found that Yu’s Gong Suo Liancheng was an unlicensed adaptation of Qiong’s popular Meihua Lao and awarded her 5 million yuan and a public apology from Yu and four other defendants named in the lawsuit.
Qiong is best known for her popular Princess Pearl series in the late 1990s, as well as Yi Lian You Meng and Meihua Lao. Many of her stories have been adapted into TV serials.
As one of China’s younger screenwriters, Yu Zheng’s works have been highly controversial. Viewers have been especially fond of poking fun at Yu’s questionable casting choices in his remakes of such classic series as The Brave Archer and The Condor Heroes.
Wang Xingdong, president of the Chinese Society of Film Literature, said Qiong’s lawsuit could have far-reaching consequences in an industry rife with plagiarism.
More than 100 screenwriters and other film industry workers came out in support of Qiong during the last eight months.
Critics said many of Qiong’s supporters seemed to be more jealous of Yu’s fame than in agreement with her copyright claim. Others worried that strict limits on imitation and an increased focus on original work could work to decrease new ideas.
Unlike many writers, Qiong enjoys a certain amount of respect and clout that brought her lawsuit to attention. Her victory remains an outlier in the Chinese legal system.