Internet users in southwest China who spread malicious rumors online face fines of up to 5,000 yuan ($630) and possible detention, state media reported on Wednesday in the latest crackdown on dissent.
Under legislation passed in Chongqing municipality, people who post “defamatory comments or remarks, launch personal attacks or seek to damage reputations online” will receive a warning or be fined between 1,000 and 5,000 yuan, the China Daily said.
“Those whose rumors cause serious consequences could be detained for five days or even more,” the paper said.
The legislation also includes fines of 3,000 to 15,000 yuan for “organizations distributing defamatory material,” the paper said.
The report comes after a Chinese court jailed dissident writer Guo Qizhen for four years on Tuesday for inciting subversion over anti-government essays he posted online.
The regulations also follow a crackdown on amateur online films that mock officially approved culture.
China, which employs an estimated 30,000 people to trawl Web sites for subversive material, is the world’s leading jailer of journalists, with at least 32 in custody, and another 50 Internet campaigners also in prison, according to press watchdog Reporters Without Borders.
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