BEIJING, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- People who post slanderous comments online in China will face up to three years in prison if their statements are widely reposted, according to a judicial interpretation issued on Monday.
The document, released by the Supreme People's Court(SPP) and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, stipulates that people will face charges of defamation if online rumors they create are visited by more than 5,000 Internet users or retweeted for more than 500 times.
In China, people committing the crime of defamation face up to three years in prison or deprivation of political rights.
The judicial interpretation, to be effective on Tuesday, also metes out punishment for companies that are paid to delete online messages or intentionally post false information.
If the turnover of the company involved exceeds 150,000 yuan (24,500 U.S. dollars) or its illegal gains surpass 50,000 yuan, it will face charges of illegal business operations in "serious situations," according to the judicial interpretation.
According to China's criminal law, people who engage in illegal business operations in "serious situations" can face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to five times their illegal gains.