Under a new controversial law against ‘online rumors,’ which criminalizes viral posts that are read by more than 5,000 people or re-blogged more than 500 times, one person has been detained by the police and five people have been fined.
16-year-old boy surnamed "Yang" has been arrested for a post on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site, that criticized how the Police handled a suicide case in Gansu Province.
Yang reported through multiple postings on his blog that police officers assaulted the relatives of the deceased man and also hit the people who were present at the scene of suicide. One of his posts was shared more than 500 times.
Despite of the criticism faced by the Chinese government regarding this controversial ‘anti-gossip’ law, it says that is much needed to thwart the socio-economic harms that are generated by these online rumors.
What the Chinese government needs to understand over here is the nature of social media. Any post can go viral or can be re-blogged more than 500 times, especially if it’s been posted by an account that has a large number of followers.
Also, the person who is being detained under this law is actually not entirely responsible, as multiple people are participating in trending that post. For instance, if something is re-blogged 500 times, it means 500 people have contributed in making it go viral. It means that no one has control over making his post popular or unpopular.
Here’s the question? So what if something gets popular or gets re-blogged 500 times? What the authorities see as a crime, if they think about it again, it might actually be helpful for them in fighting crime.
People express and share what they usually cannot over various microblogging sites. If such rules are implied than who would ever dare to speak the truth?