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Retweets can earn prison time in China

In China, internet users who post “false information that is defamatory or harms the national interest” can face prison time up to 3 years, if their post is viewed 5,000 times or retweeted 500 times, according to new guidelines from China’s Supreme People’s Court.

The judicial interpretation defines a defamatory post as edited or made-up information that would damage the reputation of an individual or organization. Any “falsified” information spread through social media a set number of times would constitute libel, which is illegal in China. Sun Jungong, spokesman for the court, said that this was not meant to punish whistleblowers, however.

“Even if some details of the allegations or what has been exposed are not true, as long as they are not intentionally fabricating information to slander others … they will not be prosecuted on charges of defamation.”

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