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Commentary: Laws imperative to curb Internet irregularities

English.news.cn   2012-12-18 23:38:50            

BEIJING, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- A legal framework covering the cyber world is in urgent need to avoid the Internet's positive social effect being dwarfed by online irregularities.

Undoubtedly the Internet has exerted great positive social effect in spreading care and help, promoting information transparency and uncovering social unfairness and official corruption.

The Internet and social networking services like Sina Weibo, China's popular microblogging service, have broadened channels for people to make their voices heard and, in some cases, fulfill their rights of supervision.

Over the past month, the wrongdoings of more than ten officials have been exposed by Internet whistleblowers. These officials, whose transgressions have included sexual misconduct and the possession of unexplainable property and other assets, have been investigated and will be brought to justice accordingly.

But as Constitution researcher Yin Xiaohu said, the Internet is a double-edged sword. The positive effect of the Internet can easily slip into paralysis if its "negative effect" gains the upper hand.

Such negative factors as personal information theft and trading, online attacks and xenophobia have posed new challenges for the building of a healthy, positive cyber environment.

Earlier this month, director Li Jing who was in charge of the publicity of the film "The Last Supper" admitted to having recruited Internet mercenaries to rate the movie with high marks and spread favorable comments online.

She said the team had to use this unwise ploy after her film had been smeared heavily by mercenaries hired by others and its survival was threatened.

Some netizens even speculated that the online muckraking of some officials was manipulated by their competitors to make them fall.

The Internet's positive effect must be ensured by a sound legal framework and its firm implementation.

If there is no strict legal punishments on the violators in cyber space, the negative factors will run wild to destroy the Internet order and even incite online violence, which will bring great damage to people and society.

Last year, a man in Sichuan Province was detained for five days for spreading online rumors. The man fabricated "a salt shortage" post online after a tsunami crippled Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which police said would trigger panic buying and salt hoarding amid radiation fears.

The surging online irregularities has demonstrated the lack of Internet legislation and deficiency of law implementation.

The country has a series of rules and regulations on the management of the Internet, but no specific laws have been enacted.

In the virtual Internet society, which is an extension of the real world, corresponding rights and obligations should also be clearly defined and relevant laws and rules be abided by.

China's top legislature will discuss a draft decision next week to strengthen Internet information protection during its bimonthly session.

For a nation whose Internet population reached more than 500 million, to keep exerting the Internet's positive effect by improved legal support is a wise measure to retain the enduring impetus of building a harmonious society.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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