The Chinese government has launched a hotline for internet users to report online comments that “deny the excellence of advanced socialist culture,” Reuters reported Sunday.
The country’s cyber regulator encouraged residents to report others who “distort” the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) history or who criticize the party’s policies, a statement by a department in the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said, according to Reuters.
The cyber regulator’s statement blamed those with “ulterior motives” for “spreading historical nihilistic misrepresentations online” and “maliciously distorting, denigrating and negating the history of the Party,” according to Reuters.
“We hope that the majority of Internet users will actively play their part in supervising society … and enthusiastically report harmful information,” the statement said, according to Reuters.
“Historical nihilism” is China’s term for public skepticism about the CCP’s version of past events, according to the South China Morning Post. The CCP monitors pubic discourse for potential instances of “historical nihilism,” which includes any type of criticism of the CCP’s legacy, its past leaders or its current leadership.
CAC’s statement did not specify what kind of punishments would follow in instances where internet users defy the rules, Reuters reported. However, people who have broken the regulator’s rules on online speech have been imprisoned. In February, at least seven people were threatened, detained or arrested for doubting the government’s view of what happened in a clash between Chinese soldiers and Indian troops in 2020, according to The New York Times (NYT).
The NYT’s report said that the CCP commonly accuses dissidents or skeptics of “provoking trouble,” which can carry a sentence of up to five years imprisonment.
Legal amendments passed in early 2020 said that those who “insult, slander or infringe upon” the memory of China’s national heroes face up to three years in jail, Reuters reported.
Under current law, social media sites operating in the country could face financial