China launches app to report people with ‘mistaken opinions’

Cyber agency says some people are spreading ‘historically nihilistic false statements’ online

Related video: China often censors international companies including news agencies

China has launched a mobile application for citizens to report online comments against the ruling Communist Party and the country’s history ahead of the party’s upcoming 100th anniversary.

The new programme allows internet users to report those who spread "mistaken opinions" online in order to create a "good public opinion atmosphere", an arm of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a notice.

The offences that can be reported include “distorting” the party’s history, or any comments against its leaders and policies, defaming national heroes and “denying the excellence of advanced socialist culture”, the notice said.

“For a while now, some people with ulterior motives have spread historically nihilistic false statements online, maliciously distorting, slandering and denying party, national and military history in an attempt to confuse people’s thinking.

“We hope that most internet users will play an active role in supervising society and enthusiastically report harmful information.”

The phrase “historical nihilism” is often used in China to describe questions and doubts over the history of the country that the Communist Party propagates.

The CAC notice did not explain what the punishment would be for people who they found guilty. However, people in China already face jail time and other legal punishments for posting content online that criticises or questions the Communist Party’s leadership, policies or accounts of past events.

China’s internet is one of the most rigidly censored in the world. It bans most foreign social media sites, search engines and news outlets, and the country’s own platforms are under strict surveillance.

Increasing supervision ahead of major events including historical anniversaries, political meetings and sports events is very common.

Earlier this year, China also passed legal amendments against those who “insult, slander or infringe upon” the memory of China’s national heroes and martyrs, setting a jail time of up to three years.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in