Public security authority releases 10 typical cases of cyberspace violence, crimes
Published: Nov 28, 2023 09:39 PM
cyberviolence Photo:IC

cyberviolence Photo:IC

As a part of China's latest intensified effort to deal with cyber violence, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security on Tuesday released 10 typical cases of such crimes that have been cracked down in recent years, including cases of defamation, insults and provoking trouble through the internet.

Saying that current regulations and laws are inadequate for dealing with these various cyber violence cases, some legal experts called for special legislation to more strictly curb cyberbullying, which can protect netizens' trust and security as well as ensure the orderly development of the internet.

In recent years, cyber violence has becoming increasingly frequent, leading to some individuals to experience "social death" or mental illness, and even commit suicide. "Social death" refers to the condition of people not accepted as fully human by wider society. This has severely disrupted the order of the internet and damaged the internet ecosystem, causing a negative social impact. 

In the first typical case, East China's Jiangsu public security organs investigated a case of a person surnamed Zhang who hired an "internet troll army" - a group of users who are paid to post online comments - to cyberbully others.

The Internet Security Department of Jiangsu Public Security found that during his probation period, Zhang illegally obtained a victim's private information by installing tracking and eavesdropping devices to achieve long-term control over his victim. He spread and promoted indecent videos, images, and insulting articles about the victim by purchasing internet accounts and hiring an "internet troll army." 

He also sent reports with false accusations to the victim's workplace in someone else's name, causing the victim to suffer PTSD. 

In January, Zhang was taken into custody by public security organs and later was sentenced to six years in prison and fined 10,000 yuan ($1,400) for infringing on citizens' personal information, provocation, and intentional injury.

In another typical case, Zhejiang public security organs cracked down on defamation involving suspects surnamed Zhang and others. The suspects are charged with fabricating and spreading rumors such as "a female teacher at a certain middle school was molested by the school head." A large number of netizens followed their accounts spreading and promoting the rumors, seriously endangering social order.

In another case, Jiangsu public security organs investigated a suspect surnamed Ji, who is being charged with cyberbullying livestreamers by repeatedly fabricating defamatory information to gain followers. 

In the other seven cases, local public security organs cracked down on cyberspace-related crimes such as picking quarrels and provoking trouble, insulting others, and illegal use of network information.

According to the Ministry of Public Security on Tuesday, both national and local cybersecurity departments will continue to advance the "Clean Network 2023" special operation, resolutely punishing illegal online violence and crime in accordance with the law. 

China's Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate and Ministry of Public Security in September jointly released guidelines to severely punish cyberspace violations. 

But some Chinese legal experts say that existing guidelines, regulations and laws are still not adequate to create a clean and healthy cyberspace.

As cyber violence has become a significant obstacle to the development of the internet today, it is necessary to enact special legislation to crack down on internet violence, said Zhu Wei, a vice director of the Communication Law Research Center at the China University of Political Science and Law. 

Passing legislation to more strictly curb cyberbullying is not about restricting freedom of expression, but about protecting it. The purpose of governance is to ensure the trust and security of the internet, so that rational and humanistic care can return to the network environment, the expert told the Global Times.

If the cultural soil of cyberspace becomes a garbage dump filled with anger and polarized thinking, and even the red line of security and trust that should exist in normal human communication is lost, then talking about the digital economy and information technology innovation is just a castle in the sky, Zhu pointed out.

Specifically, in civil cases involving cyber violence, the top cases are reputation disputes, internet infringement liability disputes and personality rights disputes; among the criminal cases involving online violence, the top charges are defamation and insults, according to legal experts.

They revealed that some lawbreakers have used the internet to blackmail enterprises and endanger the country, seriously affecting normal life and business.

However, some legal experts said at present, the definition of cyber violence is still far from a relatively clear legal concept. When judicial practice has not accumulated enough experience and cases, the conditions for formulating special laws are still premature.