10th June 2023 – (Beijing) The Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and the Ministry of Public Security jointly released a draft guideline yesterday on the punishment of illegal and criminal activities related to cyberbullying. The authorities aim to solicit public opinion to crack down on illegal and criminal activities of cyberbullying in accordance with the law, protect people’s rights and interests, and maintain good Internet order.
The guideline highlighted that illegal online behaviors, including online defamation, online insults, infringement of personal information, offline nuisance, and malicious marketing hype driven by cyberbullying, will be lawfully punished. Furthermore, illegal and criminal activities of cyberbullying targeting minors, people with disabilities, and involving online trolls will be severely punished.
The draft guideline acknowledged the difficulties in identifying perpetrators and collecting evidence in cyberbullying cases. Therefore, it urged relevant authorities to provide sufficient legal aid for victims of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying has become a growing concern in China, with many victims suffering from severe emotional and mental distress. In recent years, the Chinese government has taken steps to address the issue. In 2019, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate jointly issued a judicial interpretation on cyberbullying, which defined the scope of cyberbullying and established legal liability for offenders.
The new draft guideline is a continuation of the efforts to combat cyberbullying and protect the rights and interests of individuals online. The authorities hope that the public will provide constructive feedback on the draft guideline to improve its effectiveness.