On 9 June 2023, China’s Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and Ministry of Public Security jointly issued the proposed “Guidelines on Fighting Cyberbullying Crimes and Violations (Draft for Public Comment)” (hereinafter the “Draft”, 关于依法惩治网络暴力违法犯罪的指导意见 （征求意见稿）).
Cyberbullying crimes are defined as the intentional publication of slander, insult, rumor, defamation, invasion of privacy or other information on the Internet against individuals.
According to the Draft, such behavior damages others’ reputation and, in some cases, leads to consequences such as mental disorders and suicides, seriously impacting the public’s sense of security.
Unlike traditional crimes, cyberbullying often targets strangers, making it difficult for victims to identify the offenders and collect evidence, resulting in high costs to defend their rights. Therefore, Chinese judicial authorities have formulated this Draft to address these issues.
The Draft provides that such an act may be recognized as an insult or defamation under the Criminal Law, or as an infringement of personality rights under the Civil Code.
Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team