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Would You Report Chinese Corruption to an Anonymous Government Website?

LU JINRONG/Shutterstock.com

In an effort to rein in online extortion and restore control over whistleblowers, China’s government is cracking down on online “rumor-mongering” of the sort that disrupts the “social order.” On Thursday, to forward the latter goal, Cui Shaopeng, a senior Communist party discipline official, announced the launch of a new official Communist Party informant site (link in Chinese). Only those using the site will be protected from any attacks against them, as Reuters reports.

The announcement comes on the heels of a government crackdown on “social disrupting” online posts. Authors whose tweets fit that description and are retweeted 500 times or viewed 5,000 times risk three years in prison.
One objective behind these laws is to go after a nasty, growing extortion business that targets individuals and companies online. Another is to solidify government control over the corruption-busting of Chinese officials—by threatening anyone saying anything online that makes the government look bad.

The government already has an informant site, launched in 2009. The new site includes the old site architecture as well as links to informant sites for three other government divisions. Whistleblowers enter their name, email, home address, telephone number, a form of government-issued identification and place of work, along with similarly detailed information about the person being reported. Submitting most of that information is optional, but the government wants to make it worth the informant’s while. “Anyone retaliating against whistleblowers using the site will be severely dealt with,” said Cui, who reminded everyone to use his real name (link in Chinese). In other words, anonymous informants wouldn’t be able to claim protections under the law.

Read the full story at Quartz.

(Image via LU JINRONG/Shutterstock.com)

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