BEIJING, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC), called for Internet users to observe laws and regulation in their online speech to foster rational public discussion on the Web.
An editorial run by the daily on Monday said the bottom line for online speech was described as strict adherence to the law, the socialist system, morality and authenticity of information, as well as the protection of national interests, the public's legal rights and interests, and social order.
The definition of the line was agreed on among a group of online personalities during a forum on Internet celebrities' social responsibility, organized by the state Internet information office on Aug. 10.
The flourishing new media in China has made a new group of online opinion leaders gain increasingly powerful rights of speech by influencing their many followers on social media, said the editorial.
However, online opinion leaders could also bring negative effects if they resorted to insults or spread rumors and false information, the paper warned.
"The expression of emotions by some Internet users who violated the bottom line fueled the spread of negative feelings and harmed social trust and development," it said.
A mature public space should allow different views expressed rationally within the limits of rules and regulations, it said, noting this could establish a mature means of negotiation and communication to better channel people's appeals and promote social consensus among the public.