[JURIST] Authorities in China have punished approximately 197 people, officials announced Monday, for spreading false rumors online about the fatal explosions in Tianjin [BBC backgrounder] and the recent stock market crash. Among those arrested include a journalist, who works for the controversial financial publication Caijing and several stock market personnel, including senior executives at China’s market watchdog Citic Securities Co. The explosions in Tianjin killed 150 people and 23 are still missing. According to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, the government is not focused on efforts to help boost the stock market but on efforts to punish those people suspected of manipulating the market. Wang Xiaolu, the journalist noted above, confessed that he wrote a fake report on Chinese stock market hearsay and his own subjective guesses without verifying their credibility.
The Chinese government has faced criticism for its handling of perceived threats to the country. In July China’s top legislature, the NPC Standing Committee [official website] adopted a controversial [JURIST report] new National Security Law that increases cyber security powers and provides the possibility of establishing efficient crisis management systems. In the past year the government has executed eight people for terrorism and separatist related crimes, as well as sentencing [JURIST report] 12 to death for attacks on police and government offices. In January Human Rights Watch criticized [JURIST report] China’s proposed new counterterrorism legislation as a “recipe for abuses.” The Chinese government maintains that their draft law conforms to UN resolutions and that it allows for human rights to be “respected and guaranteed.”