SPP orders persistence in fight against online crimes

Updated: Apr 9, 2020 China Daily Print
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China's top procuratorate demanded prosecutors nationwide on April 8 continue intensified efforts against online crimes after seeing rapid growth of such offenses in recent years, including many related to the novel coronavirus.

The number of people detained for suspected epidemic-related offenses has reached about five times as many as those who had been accused of disturbing prevention and control efforts during the outbreak of SARS in 2003, according to Miao Shengming, a senior official with the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

"Offenses online have been a prominent problem and have lead to an increase of cases during the COVID-19 outbreak," he said. "Those using the internet to defraud, produce or sell fake goods and falsify information made up a large proportion of the cases this time."

As of Tuesday, 3,275 people have been detained for possible crimes related to COVID-19, of whom 2,281 have been taken to courts for trials, according to the SPP.

Miao also said that more than 105,000 people were charged with online crimes from 2018 to 2019, up about 95 percent year-on-year, spurring the need for prosecutors across the country to make fighting online offenses a priority.

"We'll solve cases that the public often complains about, such as online fraud and online gambling, and harshly crack down on those stealing personal information and data in cyberspace," he said.

Meanwhile, the SPP will also update guidelines on handling online offenses to regulate prosecutors' behavior and improve the quality of related case handling, according to Miao.

Considering the frequency and seriousness of cross-regional and transnational online crimes, prosecutors will play a role in supervising public security departments, urging them to reduce victims' economic losses by seizing illicit gains in a timely manner and increasing international cooperation with other countries, he said.

"In addition, social force is also a necessity, as keeping the online environment in order requires efforts from all walks of life, including government agencies, enterprises, social organizations and residents," he added.

In the past few years, prosecutors nationwide have taken various measures to fight online crimes, especially after a series of online services or products emerged, such as livestreaming, short videos, online games and online education, Wang Songmiao, spokesman for the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said on Wednesday.

While bringing convenience to people's lives, these new services have also been used to commit crimes, which was why the central government highlighted the significance of fighting such offenses and clarified that cyberspace is not a lawless area, Wang said.

"To implement the central leadership's requirements and guarantee cybersecurity, we'll strengthen our capability of dealing with online cases and conduct more research into them," he added.

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