According to the Supreme People's Procuratorate's website, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and the Ministry of Public Security jointly issued the "Guiding Opinions on Lawfully Punishing Online Violence and Crimes" (hereinafter referred to as the "Opinions") on September 9. In accordance with the Opinions, procuratorial organs shall lawfully initiate public prosecutions for crimes of insult or defamation that seriously endanger social order and national interests, and may lawfully file public interest lawsuits against online violence that harms the public interest.
The Opinions require that the law be accurately applied, and that different forms of online violence be convicted and punished as defamation, insult, and infringement of citizens' personal information. The Opinions point out that for the purpose of stirring up heat, promoting and diverting traffic, etc., using Internet users' public accounts to push or disseminate information on illegal crimes of online violence, and in compliance with the provisions of the Criminal Law, shall be convicted and punished as the crime of illegally using information networks. Where network service providers fail to lawfully perform information network security management obligations on information discovered about online violence and crimes, and refuse to make corrections after being ordered to take corrective measures by the regulatory departments, resulting in a large amount of illegal information being disseminated or other serious circumstances, and comply with the provisions of the Criminal Law, they are convicted and punished as the crime of refusing to perform information network security management obligations.
The Opinions require that the spirit of severe punishment should be reflected in online violence and crimes, so that the people can fully feel fairness and justice. It is necessary to focus on cracking down on malicious initiators, organizers, malicious promoters, and those who repeatedly fail to change. Where online violence is committed in any of the following five circumstances, heavier punishment is to be given in accordance with law: it is committed against minors or persons with disabilities; Organizing "water army", "thugs" or other personnel to carry it out; fabricating "sex-related" topics that infringe on the personal dignity of others; Using generative artificial intelligence technologies such as "deep synthesis" to publish illegal information; Network service providers initiated and organized.
The Opinions emphasize that, in accordance with the provisions of the second paragraph of article 246 of the Criminal Law, those who commit crimes of insult or slander that seriously endanger social order and national interests shall be prosecuted in accordance with law. Judgments shall be made on whether online insults or defamation seriously endanger social order based on factors such as the target of the infringement, the motive and purpose, the mode of conduct, the scope of information dissemination, and the harmful consequences. At the same time, the Opinions also make it clear that where network service providers fail to perform their information network security management obligations in accordance with law with respect to discovered online violence information, resulting in a large amount of illegal information being disseminated or other serious circumstances that harm the public interest, the people's procuratorates may file a public interest lawsuit with the people's court in accordance with law.
The Opinions also make clear provisions on implementation assistance in evidence collection, strengthening supervision of case filing, strengthening connection and cooperation, and promoting comprehensive management.