Talk just became a lot less cheap: on China’s new rules for online expression | China Copyright and Media:
The campaign against the spread of online rumours and false information continues to escalate. In the wake of a swathe of articles, amongst others in Red Flag Magazine, earlier announcements by the State Internet Information Office and the prosecution of a number of news websites, the Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate have introduced a judicial interpretation (original/our translation) that expands criminal liability to include a number of online activities. These are the main points:* Clear definitions are provided for the online activities that are necessary to fulfil the chapeau of the Article 246 Criminal Law (CL) definition of concocting facts to defame others, which, under “grave circumstances”, may lead to a maximum of three years’ imprisonment, criminal detention, surveillance or loss of political rights. In order to meet the criteria for “grave circumstances”, such information must either be visited 5000 times or retweeted 500 times or result in the injured party suffering mental disorder, committing self-harm or suicide, or the defaming party must have already been subject to administrative punishment for defamation in the two preceding years.* Criminal defamation cases are only handled upon request of an aggrieved party, except where social order or national interests are gravely harmed. To that end, the Interpretation provides that defamatory information also falls under the scope of Article 246 where it triggers mass incidents, upsets of social orders, ethnic or religious clashes, causes ‘vile’ social or international influence, or harms the national image and interest.'via Blog this'