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New Guideline: Social Media Users May Face Jail Time

On September 9, China’s Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, issued a joint guideline defining the criteria for convicting and sentencing persons who use the Internet to defame, provoke and instigate, blackmail, or engage in illegal business. Under the guideline, these activities are defined as criminal offenses punishable by imprisonment. 

For example, Article 2 (1) provides that the use of the Internet to share information that is defamatory is considered to be a serious infraction. If their posts are viewed 5,000 times or forwarded 500 times, such users faces up to three years in prison. 
Article 3 provides that Internet users who share information that is defamatory are considered to have “caused serious harm to the social order and to the national interest” if such activity caused a mass incident, disturbed the public order, incited ethnic and religious conflicts, defamed multiple people, had an adverse social impact, or damaged the State’s image and severely harmed the national interest. The article also includes “other similar cases that have caused serious harm to the public order and the national interest.” 

Source: People’s Daily, September 9, 2013