WeChat Group Admin Sentenced to 2 Years for…
Chinese authorities have sentenced university professor Liu Pengfei to two years in prison for hosting a blog and a forum on WeChat for users to discuss current affairs, Chinese media recently confirmed.
Liu was sentenced by a district court in Chongqing City in southwestern China sometime in June.
Liu was the creator and administrator of a popular WeChat forum named “Global Report,” in which he and others shared news and commentaries, mostly from websites based outside China that were published in the Chinese language.
Liu’s “Global Report,” first established as a WeChat forum in 2014, aimed to share “different voices” from overseas with Chinese internet users, according to Chinese media.
As of 2017, the WeChat forum has reposted more than 20,000 articles on current affairs, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA).
Many touched upon topics deemed “politically sensitive” by Beijing, such as uncensored news and international governments’ criticisms of the Chinese regime.
Despite numerous attempts by the regime to shut down “Global Report” over the years, Liu’s forum managed to survive by branching into different chatrooms, amassing a following in the thousands. The blog also changed its website address repeatedly immediately upon being censored.
The following day after the arrest, China’s top internet censorship authority, the Cyberspace Administration of China, issued new regulations, stipulating that creators of online forums and group chats would be held accountable if there are “inappropriate” comments made by users.
WeChat Group Owner Gets Arrested For…
Web administrators like Liu have since been punished, including with account closures, verbal warnings from local police, or arrests and detentions.
Messages sent between individuals, especially ones shared in popular chat groups, have come under extensive monitoring by China’s internet police since the regulations were put in place.
Pay attention, here are 9 types of prohibited information:
Sensitive political topics
Pornographic, drug-related or violent information
News about Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan which hasn’t been issued by the authorities.
Documents related to state secrets
Unidentified / seemingly fake videos suspected of defaming or insulting the police
Other information that breaches relevant laws and regulations
According to Internet Group Information Service Management Provisions, issued by Cyberspace Administration of China on September 7, 2017, the following regulations are vital to WeChat group admin:
Article 9: The founders and managers of internet groups shall perform group management responsibilities, to regulate the group’s online conduct and publication of information in accordance with laws, regulations, user agreements, and platform agreements, building a civilized and orderly space for online groups.
When internet group members participate in group information exchanges, they shall comply with laws and regulations, interact civilly, and express themselves rationally.
Internet group information service providers should provide necessary functions and privileges to group founders and managers conducting group management.
Article 10: Internet group information service providers and users must not use Internet group information services to publish or transmit informational content prohibited by laws, regulations, and relevant State provisions.
Article 11: Internet group information service providers shall employ management measures for dealing with internet groups that violate laws, regulations, and relevant state provisions, such as correction warnings, suspension of publication, and closing groups, in accordance with laws and agreements; and shall store relevant records and report to the relevant competent departments.
Internet group information service providers shall employ management measures for dealing with the founders and managers of internet groups that violate laws, regulations, and relevant state provisions, such as lowering credit levels, suspension of publication, and revoking group establishment credentials in accordance with laws and agreements; and shall store relevant records and report to the relevant competent departments.
Internet group information service providers shall establish a blacklist management system, entering groups, group founders, group managers, and group members to the blacklist for violations of law and agreements where the circumstances are serious, limiting group service functions, storing relevant records, and reporting to the relevant competent departments.