China launched tip line so citizens can report internet users who insult the Communist party online
- China has encouraged people to report internet users who "distort" the Communist Party's history on a new tip line.
- People can submit reports to the tip line about users who attack the Communist party's leadership.
- It is unknown what punishments people may face if reports about them are sent to the hotline.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
China is clamping down hard on any form of online dissent, with the launch of a new tip line where people can report fellow internet users for negative comments.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) posted a notice online last Friday encouraging people to send in tip-offs about internet users who publish posts or comments online that "distort" the party's history and "deny the excellence of advanced socialist culture."
Comments that are fair game also include those that insult, defame, and attack the Communist party's leaders and "national heroes."
"Some with ulterior motives ... have been spreading historical nihilistic misrepresentations online, maliciously distorting, denigrating, and negating the history of the party," said the notice.
The phrase "historical nihilism" is often used to describe terms that cast aspersions on the Communist Party's messaging and the way that it describes past events.
It is unclear what penalties one could face by being reported to the tip line, but Reuters reported that some internet users in China have been arrested - and are facing jail time - for posting content that critiqued the country's leaders and its history.
One 19-year-old man from the southern Jiangsu province was arrested last week for making "insulting" online comments about the 1937 Japanese occupation of Nanjing.
Reuters also noted that a new law came into force last year that said anyone who "insults, slanders, or infringes upon" the memory of China's national heroes and martyrs could be jailed for three years.
This blanket ban on information sources outside the country is often termed the "Great Firewall," with Chinese web users often having to use VPNs and other methods to gain access to information from beyond the country's borders. This level of censorship often intensifies before and after major events in the country: such as its national day celebrations, its "two sessions" annual political meeting, and major sporting events like the Olympics.
In place of foreign social media networks, Chinese internet users often use Weibo (its version of Facebook and Twitter) and Bilibili (the Chinese version of YouTube) to access media content - but these sites are strictly regulated as well.
Certain keywords - especially hashtags referring to taboo topics in the country like the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Hong Kong democracy, Xinjiang Uyghur internment camps, and even the MeToo movement - have been delisted and made unsearchable.
Receive a daily news update on your cellphone. Or get the best of our site emailed to you
Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.