BEIJING, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese
lawmakers on Monday called for more severe penalties for the fabrication and
spread of false information on emergencies.
The members of the Standing Committee of the National People's
Congress (NPC) made the remarks during their second reading of the draft
emergency response law in their ongoing 28th session.
The draft stipulates that "units or individuals who
know that information regarding an accident or a disaster is untrue yet still
spread the information should be corrected or warned".
Xu Jialu, Vice Chairman of the NPC Standing
Committee, said the punishment was too light.
"Stronger sanctions are required for those who
intentionally spread false information," Xu said.
The draft stipulates administrative punishments,
including disciplinary warnings, demerit record, grave demerit record, demotion,
dismissal and discharge from public employment, will be given to officials who
fail to act to prevent the emergencies from occurring or to respond to
emergencies quickly, hide information about emergencies, fabricate or spread
false information and embezzle aid funds and materials.
Wang Xueping, a member of the NPC Standing Committee,
said some of the offences already contravened criminal statutes and should lead
"I suggest to add a provision saying 'actions that
are serious enough to be deemed criminal should bear criminal responsibility',"
The draft emergency response law was submitted for
first review in June 2006.
At that time the draft included a provision saying
that "news media that irregularly report the development and handling of
emergencies without authorization or release fraudulent reports will be fined
between 50,000 yuan (6,250 US dollars) and 100,000 yuan, if the reports lead to
The provision sparked heated discussion amid
lawmakers. Some said information transparency was crucial to handling
emergencies and that the media's contribution should be affirmed and praised.
Finally, legislators decided to eliminate the mention
of fines from the draft law. Also omitted was the specific reference to
reporting of emergencies by news media.