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by Mike Zazaian October 20, 2006 - 5:04pm, 2 Comments

Chinese District Outlaws Online Rumors

Government officials in the Chinese municipality of Chongqing have outlawed the practice of spreading malicious rumors online, penalizing citizens several hundreds of dollars for each instance.

Under the new ordinance, Chinese citizens are no longer allowed to spread “defamatory comments or remarks, launch personal attacks, or seek to damage reputations online.” Those found guilty of such actions can be given fines between 1,000 and 5,000 Yuan ($126-$633 US) per instance, with the addition of up to 5 days jail time.

The Chinese government hasn’t exactly held an enlightened attitude about the Internet since it found its way into the country some years back. China currently sensors more websites than any country in the world, prompting the nickname the Great Firewall of China.

The news comes two months after an announcement from the State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television that made it illegal for citizens to satirize celebrities or government officials through any video medium. China has also expressed consideration of breaking off from the World Wide Web and forming its own DNS system to escape the use of latin script that the current system imposes on them. Such a system would not only cut citizens off from non-Chinese Internet content, but also give the government absolute control over what is viewed by Chinese citizens. Dubbed ‘Net Balkanization, the matter will be discussed further at the world Internet Governance Forum in Athens, Greece next month.

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