China's Dalian Wanda Group demands apologies and compensation fom media outlets over false reports

China's Dalian Wanda Group is demanding public apologies and millions in compensation, over reports put out in the local media that said the company's billioniare boss had been detained. (See: As shares slide, China's Dalian Wanda denies detention of chairman by authorites).

The group had warned that it planned to take legal action and according to commentators, it is now following up with legal action against those who propagate "malicious rumors" about the company's billionaire chairman Wang Jianlin.

On 28 August, scores of Chinese news sites issued reports alleging that Wanda's Wang had been detailed by Chinese authorities while trying to board a flight to the UK with his family. In a statement, Wanda described the claims as "false and malicious," but the reports sent Chinese investors, running for cover and the conglomerate's Hong Kong-listed subsidiaries crashed 10 per cent.

Wanda said today that it had filed lawsuits against the individuals and entities involved in spreading those allegations and added that Chinese courts had already accepted the civil cases. Wanda further added that it was preparing to press criminal charges in some cases and made a note of  Beijing's strict but controversial new laws against spreading false information online in China.

Wanda named several of the Chinese media outlets it is challenging in court, including Asia News Weekly, New People Magazine, Wu Xiaowei and others.

According to commentators the action pointed to the heightened sensitivity in corporate China to reports of company bosses coming under scrutiny, even as a crackdown on, on big-spending conglomerates that has seen some top executives detained or called in for questioning.

"Wanda Group states that it is not only pursuing economic and criminal charges against rumormongers and defending its dignity," the company in a statement. The statement added,  "but also using legal measures to issue a warning to media outlets lacking ethics or basic moral standards as well as to help create a cleaner Internet environment."