China threatens tough punishment for online rumour spreading
BEIJING (REUTERS) - China unveiled on Monday tough measures to stop the spread of what the government calls irresponsible rumours, threatening three years in jail if untrue posts online are widely reposted, drawing an angry response from Chinese internet users.
China is in the middle of yet another crackdown on what it terms "online rumours", as the government tries to rein in social media, increasingly used by Chinese people to discuss politics, despite stringent censorship.
According to a judicial interpretation issued by China's top court and prosecutor, people will be charged with defamation if online rumours they create are visited by 5,000 internet users or reposted more than 500 times.
That could lead to three years in jail, state media reported, citing the judicial document. That is the standard sentence for defamation.