China launches another online rumor crackdown News
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China launches another online rumor crackdown

Chinese Communist Party-owned media outlet Renminwang reported Monday that the Chinese Ministry of Public Security began another week of promoting its operation to target online rumors and encourage rational commenting on the internet. As part of the campaign, the Ministry of Public Security released examples of online rumors to educate the public on how to counter them.

The promotion is an echo of China’s April 2023 overhaul of the internet against online rumors. The April overhaul has achieved “remarkable” results in shutting down social media accounts that manufactured rumors to attract an audience and gain profits, the Ministry claimed. According to the official Weibo of the Shanghai Political and Legal Affairs Commission (Zhonggong Shanghai Zhengfawei 中共上海市委政法委), the Shanghai online police caught 258 people who were involved in manufacturing and disseminating online rumors. The Shanghai online police also removed 17,000 messages and banned 460 social media accounts.

On July 6, the Ministry of Public Security also initiated a comprehensive system to strengthen cybersecurity and target online crimes. The project includes strengthening online data protection and online security surveillance. In the press conference, the Ministry concluded that “Jingwang 2022,’ the overhaul of the internet in 2022, has successfully upheld online order and people’s legal rights by filing over 83 thousand cases.

On July 15, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the National Network Security and Informatization Work Conference. At the conference, he stressed “the need to thoroughly implement the guidelines of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on boosting China’s strength in cyberspace, and to vigorously advance the high-quality development of the work on cybersecurity and informatization.”

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) also started another overhaul of the internet targeting counterfeit forums in early July. The CAC is also proposing new laws to regulate online violence and hate speech.