Monday, May 29, 2023

Translation: Court Judgment in Wang Aizhong Political Tweeting Case

Translator's Notes:

  • I have translated the crime that Wang Aizhong was convicted of (寻衅滋事罪) as "disturbing the peace." Other translators use "picking quarrels and provoking trouble."
  • The court did not specify what Wang Aizhong shared on social media that disturbed the peace.  Here are his last three tweets that he posted prior to his detention on May 28:
    • On May 26, Wang retweeted a post by the New York Times linking to the Chinese language version of an article titled "Biden Orders Intelligence Inquiry Into Origins of Virus."
    • On May 26, Wang posted "Someone logged into my telegram account. Their attacks on private communication software and surveillance is getting more and more insane.
    • On May 24, Wang quote tweeted a post by the Wall Street Journal to the Chinese language version of an article titled "Belarus Faces EU Flight Ban for Grounding Ryanair Plane With Dissident." Wang added "Some folks really have guts. Certain other countries could stand to learn something from them."

People's Court of Tianhe District, Guangzhou, Guangdong

Criminal Judgment

(2022) Yue 0106 Criminal First Instance No. 377


The public prosecution agency was the People's Procuratorate of Tianhe District

Defendant Wang Aizhong, male, born on December 13, 1976, Han nationality, university degree, household registration in Guangzhou City. On May 28, 2021, he was taken into custody in connection with this case. He was taken into criminal detention the following day, and he was formally arrested on July 6 of the same year. He is currently being held in custody at the Tianhe District Detention Center in Guangzhou.

Defense counsel Ge Wenxiu is a lawyer at the Guangdong Lucheng Dingbang Law Firm.

Defense counsel He Weimin is a lawyer of Guangdong Jingguo Law Firm.

In the Sui Tian Procuratorate Criminal Prosecution (2022) No. Z10 Indictment the People's Procuratorate of Tianhe District, Guangzhou, Guangdong, charged defendant Wang Aizhong with committing the crime of disturbing the peace, and on January 27, 2022 it filed a public prosecution with this Court. This Court accepted the case and formed a collegial panel in accordance with the law, convened pretrial conferences, and tried this case with hearing in open court. The People's Procuratorate of Tianhe District, Guangzhou, Guangdong assigned procurators Huang Haifeng, Liu Qiwei, He Qian to appear in court in support of the indictment. Defendant Wang Aizhong and his defense counsel He Wenxiu were in court to participate in the proceedings. Hearings in this case have now concluded.

The public prosecution agency charged: Since January 2019, defendant Wang Aizhong did, in the eastern part of the Tianhe District in the city where he lives, repeatedly use "wall-climbing" methods on the Internet to repost false reports from foreign media, and added his own statements with fake information, and distributed them on his WeChat official account and on foreign social software, thereby causing a disturbance and misleading the public. On May 28, 2021, defendant Wang Aizhong was apprehended by investigators at his residence and brought to justice.

In order to prove the aforementioned facts, the public prosecution agency produced or read in court the Decision to Establish a Case, search and seizure materials, remote network inspection work records, screenshots of social software content, the testimony of witness Wang Mounan and others, the statement of the defendant, and other evidence. The public prosecution agency believed that defendant Wang Aizhong fabricated and disseminated fake information, creating a disturbance and causing severe chaos in public venue order, and he should bear criminal liability for the offense of disturbing the peace. It requested this Court pass sentence in accordance with the law.

Defendant Wang Aizhong's defense counsel proffered: Wang Aizhong's statements on overseas online platforms did not exceed the boundaries stipulated by law. The public prosecution agency failed to prove that Wang Aizhong's actions caused severe chaos in the cyberspace, and Wang Aizhong did not constitute the crime of disturbing the peace.

It was ascertained at trial: Since January 2019, defendant Wang Aizhong did on several occasions post and repost a large volume of fake information on domestic and foreign Internet platforms, creating an offensive social influence and severe chaos in public order.

The aforementioned facts have been confirmed by the following evidence presented and examined in court during the trial, and are determined by this Court:

1. The Police Report Acceptance Registration Form, the Decision to Establish a Case, and the apprehension process confirmed the circumstances of the case establishment and apprehension of defendant Wang Aizhong.

The search and seizure materials confirmed: When the police apprehended defendant Wang Aizhong, they seized an Apple mobile phone from him; in the search of Wang Aizhong's residence [OBSCURED IN ORIGINAL], they found an ASUS laptop, a Microsoft tablet, and an Apple mobile phone. All of the above items were seized.

3. Screenshots of defendant Wang Aizhong’s Twitter and WeChat account interfaces, and WeChat information provided by Tencent confirmed: Wang Aizhong’s Twitter account is “王爱忠@wangaizhong”; the name of the WeChat account is "A Wang Aizhong", the nickname is "Wang Aizhong D", and the username is WeChat is "wangaizhong2023".

Defendant Wang Aizhong signed and affirmed this.

4. The remote network inspection work records confirmed: The investigative agency remotely fixed and extracted the content of the tweets posted by the Twitter account "王爱忠@wangaizhong."

5. The screenshots of Twitter and Wechat Moments confirmed that defendant Wang Aizhong posted a large amount of fake information on social software, causing severe chaos in public order.

Defendant Wang Aizhong carried out signing and affirming some of the screenshots.

6. Defendant Wang Aizhong's household registration information and criminal record investigation materials confirmed the identity of defendant Wang Aizhong. On February 23, 2013, he was sentenced to administrative detention for participating in an illegal assembly; on May 28, 2014, he was criminally detained for publishing rumors on the Internet, and was later released on bail.

7. The testimonies of witnesses Wang Doenan, Chen Doeyun, and Wan Doeming confirmed: Wang Aizhong's WeChat account is "wangaizhong2023" and his Twitter account is "王aizhong@wangaizhong."

Witness Chen Doeyun carried out signing and affirming Wang Aizhong's WeChat account, Twitter account, and screenshots of his WeChat Moments interface. Witness Wan Doeming identified Wang Aizhong and carried out signing and affirming the relevant screenshots of his Moments content.

8. The statement of defendant Wang Aizhong: I posted about some high profile social incidents on WeChat Moments and Twitter, which came from self-media such as Weibo. The WeChat account I use is qingshan1995, and I have also used wangaizhong2023 and wangaizhong, and the associated mobile phone number is [INTENTIONALLY OMITTED]. My Twitter account is @wangaizhong, and my nickname is "王爱中." I have posted relevant information on WeChat Moments and Twitter, and the account is only used by myself, and others do not know my account and password. I am posting relevant information using my mobile phone.

Regarding the opinion proffered by defendant Wang Aizhong and the defense counsel that he is not guilty, based on an investigation, Wang Aizhong used the aforementioned WeChat and Twitter accounts to disseminate fake information relating to State policies and major domestic events on the Internet, creating a disturbance and misleading the public, and the relevant information was widely read And reposted, with dangerous consequences that created severe chaos in public order.

The opinion proffered by Wang Aizhong and his defense counsel that he is not guilty is not established and is not adopted by this Court.

This Court finds that defendant Wang Aizhong intentionally fabricated fake information, or knowingly disseminated fake information on the Internet, causing disturbances, and creating severe chaos in public order. His actions constitute the crime of disturbing the peace. With respect to the public prosecution agency's charge, the facts were clear and the evidence was reliable and copious, and the charged offense is established and is adopted by this Court. After Wang Aizhong was brought to justice he made truthful statements regarding the primary criminal facts, and may be given a lighter punishment in accordance with the law. In accordance with Articles 293(1)(iv), 67(3), and 64 of the "Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China" and Article 5 of the "Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate on Several Issues Concerning the Specific Application of Law in the Handling of Defamation Through Information Networks and Other Criminal Cases," the judgment is as follows:

1. Defendant Wang Aizhong committed the crime of disturbing the peace, and is sentenced to a fixed term imprisonment of three years (The prison term is to be calculated starting on the day the judgment is executed, and each day in custody prior to the execution of the judgment shall count as one day of the prison term, that is, from May 28, 2021 to May 27, 2024).

2. The seized mobile phones used as tools in the crime shall be confiscated (the aforementioned items are currently seized by the Tianhe District Branch of the Public Security Bureau of Guangzhou, and the bureau will carry this out).

If any party does not accept this judgment, they may within 10 days after the second day after receiving this written judgment bring an appeal through this Court or directly to the Intermediate People's Court of Guangzhou. A written appeal should be submitted with one original and two copies of the appeal brief.

Chief Adjudicator Liang Xiaowen
Adjudicator Zhang Kai
Adjudicator Zhu Lu

May 18, 2023

Clerks Chen Min and Mai Yingjie

 

广东省广州市天河区人民法院


刑事判决书


(2022)粤0106刑初377号


公诉机关广东省广州市天河区人民检察院。

被告人王爱忠,男,1976年12月13日出生,汉族,大学文化程度,户籍地广州市天。因本案于2021年5月28日被ustory,次日被刑事拘留,同年7月6日被逮捕。现羁押于广州市天河区看守所。 

辩护人葛文秀,广东律成定邦律师事务所律师。

辩护人何伟民,广东经国律师事务所律师。

广东省广州市天河区人民检察院以穗天检刑诉[2022]Z10号起诉书指控被告人王爱忠犯寻衅滋事罪,于2022年1月27日向本院提起公诉。本院受理后依法组成合议庭,召开了庭前会议,公开开庭审理了本案。广东省广州市天河区人民检察院指派检察员黄海锋、刘其维、何倩出庭支持公诉。被告人王爱忠及辩护人葛文秀到庭参加诉讼。现已审理终结。

公诉机关指控,被告人王爱忠自2019年1月起,在其居住的本市天河区东,多次通过网络“翻墙”手段,将境外媒体的不实报道转载并配上其添加虚假信息的言论,发表在其微信公众号、境外社交软件上,起哄闹事,混淆视听。2021年5月28日,被告人王爱忠在其住所附近被侦查人员抓获归案。

为证明上述事实,公诉机关当庭出示或宣读了立案决定书、搜查及扣押材料、网络远程勘验工作记录、社交软件内容截图、证人王某楠等人的证言,被告人的供述等证据。公诉机关认为,被告人王爱忠编造、散布虚假信息,起哄闹事,造成公共场所秩序严重混乱,应以寻衅滋事罪追究其刑事责任。提请本院依法判处。

被告人王爱忠及辩护人提出:王爱忠在境外网络平台发表言论没有超过法律规定的边界,公诉机关未能证实王爱忠的行为造成网络空间严重混乱,王爱忠不构成寻衅滋事罪。

经审理查明:自2019年1月起,被告人王爱忠多次在境内外网络平台上发布、转载大量虚假信息,造成恶劣社会影响和公共秩序严重混乱。

上述事实,有经庭审举证、质证的下列证据证实,本院予以认定:

1.受理报警登记表、立案决定书、抓获经过证实本案立案及抓获被告人王爱忠的情况。

2.搜查及扣押材料证实:民警抓获被告人王爱忠时从其身上查获1部苹果手机;在王爱忠住处[OBSCURED IN ORIGINAL]房搜查发现1部华硕笔记本电脑、1台微软平板电脑和1部苹果手机。上述物品均予以扣押。

3.被告人王爱忠的推特及微信账号界面截图、腾讯公司提供的微信资料证实:王爱忠的推特账号为“王爱忠@wangaizhong";微信账号名称为“A王爱忠”,昵称“王爱忠D”,微信号"wangaizhong2023".

被告人王爱忠已签认。

4.网络远程勘验工作记录证实:侦查机关对推特账号“王爱忠@wangaizhong”发文内容进行远程固定和提取。

5.推特及微信朋友圈截图证实:被告人王爱忠在社交软件发布大量虚假信息,造成公共秩序严重混乱。

被告人王爱忠对其中部分截图进行签认。

6.被告人王爱忠的户籍资料及前科协查材料证实被告人王爱忠的身份情况。其于2013年2月23日因参与非法集会被处以行政拘留;2014年5月28日在网络发布谣言信息被刑事拘留,后取保候审。

7.证人王某楠、陈某云、万某明的证言证实:王爱忠的微信号是“wangaizhong2023”,推特账号是“王爱忠@wangaizhong”。

证人陈某云对王爱忠的微信,推特账号及微信朋友圈界面截图进行签认;证人万某明辨认出王爱忠,并对相关朋友圈内容截图进行签认。

8.被告人王爱忠的供述:我在微信朋友圈、推特发了一些社会热点事件,来自微博等自媒体上自称是当事人或家属的“爆料”。我使用的微信账号是qingshan1995,还用过wangaizhong2023、wangaizhong,关联的手机号码为[INTENTIONALLY OMITTED]。我的推特账号是@wangaizhong,昵称是“王爱忠”。我曾在微信朋友圈及推特发表过相关的信息,账号只有我自己在使用,其他人不知道我的账号和密码。我是使用手机发布相关信息。

关于被告人王爱忠、辩护人所提无罪意见,经查,王爱忠使用上述微信及推特账号在信息网络上散布涉及国家政策、国内重大事件的虚假信息,起哄闹事,混淆视听,相关信息被大量阅读和转发,已造成公共秩序严重混乱的危害后果。王爱忠及辩护人所提无罪意见不成立,本院不予采纳。

本院认为,被告人王爱忠故意编造虚假信息,或者明知是虚假信息而在信息网络上散布,起哄闹事,造成公共秩序严重混乱,其行为已构成寻衅滋事罪。公诉机关指控的事实清楚、证据确实、充分,指控的罪名成立,本院予以采纳。王爱忠归案后如实供述主要犯罪事实,可依法从轻处罚。依照《中华人民共和国刑法》第二百九十三条第一款第(四)项、第六十七条第三款、第六十四条以及《最高人民法院、最高人民检察院关于办理利用信息网络实施诽谤等刑事案件适用法律若干问题的解释》第五条的规定,判决如下:

一、被告人王爱忠犯寻衅滋事罪,判处有期徒刑三年(刑期从判决执行之日起计算,判决执行以前先行羁押的,羁押一日折抵刑期一日,即从2021年5月28日起至2024年5月27日止)。

二、扣押的作案工具手机二部予以没收(上述物品现扣押干广州市公安局天河区分局,由该局执行)。

如不服本判决,可在接到判决书的第二日起十日内,通过本院或者直接向广东省广州市中级人民法院提出上诉。书面上诉的,应当提交上诉状正本一份,副本二份.

审判长 梁晓文
审判员 张凯
审判员 朱璐

二〇二三年五月十八日

书记员 陈敏 麦英杰

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Examples of PRC Government Regulation of Online Public Sentiment

On January 18, 2023 the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission posted an announcement on its website that was launching a "Special Action to 'Loudly and Clearly Improve the Internet Environment  for the 2023 Spring Festival" (中央网信办启动“清朗·2023年春节网络环境整治”专项行动). . The goals of the "special action" included:

  • "curbing the spread of bad culture" (遏制不良文化传播);
  • "creating a positive, civilized and healthy online public opinion atmosphere for the Spring Festival" (营造积极向上、文明健康的春节网络舆论氛围).

The "special action's" targets included:

  • Standardizing the management of information about entertainers that is presented online;
  • Dealing with "Internet celebrity" bloggers who have a history of sensationalizing bad conduct and deliberately focusing on the ugly side of things;
  • Investigating people who flaunt wealth online and clean up information that deliberately flaunts extravagant lifestyles and maliciously speculates about concealed wealth;
  • Preventing the rendering of gloomy emotions;
  • Controlling the spread of anxiety and exaggerating the dark side of society by publishing false information such as returning home notes and returning home experiences.

On March 12, 2023, the CAC posted on its website the "Notice on Launching a Special Action to 'Loudly  and Clearly Strictly Rectify the Chaos of 'Personal Media'" (关于开展“清朗·从严整治‘自媒体’乱象”专项行动的通知). The target of the "special action" included "harmful information" on "key platforms such as social networking, short video, and webcasting." Examples of "harmful information" included:'

  • Selecting high-profile topics such as the private economy and publishing "controversial and misleading remarks to incite opposition and tear-up the social consensus."
  • Creating harmful information that damages the image of the Party and government.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Translated Excerpts from the 2018 "Program for Deepening Reforms of Party and State Institutions"

 On March 21, 2018, the official website of the government of the People's Republic of China published the text of the "Program for Deepening Reforms of Party and State Institutions" (深化党和国家机构改革方案). Articles 11, 35, and 36 of the Program are translated below.

(11) News and publishing work shall be centralized under the Central Propaganda Department. In order to strengthen the Party's concentrated and centralized leadership over news and public opinion work, strengthen the management of publishing activities, and develop and prosper the socialist publishing industry with Chinese characteristics, the news and publishing management responsibilities of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television are assigned to the Central Propaganda Department. When dealing with outsiders the Central Propaganda Department will identify itself as the State Press and Publication Administration (National Copyright Administration).

After the adjustment, the main responsibilities of the Central Propaganda Department in terms of press and publication management are to implement the Party's propaganda work guidelines, formulate management policies for the press and publication industry and supervise their implementation, manage press and publication administrative affairs, make overall plans, guide and coordinate press and publication undertakings, industrial development, supervise and manage the content and quality of publications, supervise and manage the printing industry, manage copyrights, manage publication imports, etc.

(十一)中央宣传部统一管理新闻出版工作。为加强党对新闻舆论工作的集中统一领导,加强对出版活动的管理,发展和繁荣中国特色社会主义出版事业,将国家新闻出版广电总局的新闻出版管理职责划入中央宣传部。中央宣传部对外加挂国家新闻出版署(国家版权局)牌子。

调整后,中央宣传部关于新闻出版管理方面的主要职责是,贯彻落实党的宣传工作方针,拟订新闻出版业的管理政策并督促落实,管理新闻出版行政事务,统筹规划和指导协调新闻出版事业、产业发展,监督管理出版物内容和质量,监督管理印刷业,管理著作权,管理出版物进口等。

(35) Establish the State Administration of Radio and Television. In order to strengthen the Party's centralized and unified leadership over news and public opinion work, strengthen the management of important propaganda positions, firmly grasp the leadership of ideological work, and give full play to the role of radio and television media as the Party's mouthpieces, establish the State Administration of Radio and Television on the basis of the radio and television management responsibilities of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, as an institution directly under the State Council.

Its main responsibilities are to implement the Party's propaganda principles and policies, formulate policies and measures for radio and television management and supervise their implementation, make overall plans, guide and coordinate the development of radio and television undertakings and industries, promote the reform of systems and mechanisms in the field of radio and television, supervise, manage, and screen the radio and television content and quality of online audio-visual programs, be responsible for the import, collection, and management of radio and television programs, and coordinate and promote the work of going global in the field of radio and television.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television is no longer retained.

(三十五)组建国家广播电视总局。为加强党对新闻舆论工作的集中统一领导,加强对重要宣传阵地的管理,牢牢掌握意识形态工作领导权,充分发挥广播电视媒体作为党的喉舌作用,在国家新闻出版广电总局广播电视管理职责的基础上组建国家广播电视总局,作为国务院直属机构。

主要职责是,贯彻党的宣传方针政策,拟订广播电视管理的政策措施并督促落实,统筹规划和指导协调广播电视事业、产业发展,推进广播电视领域的体制机制改革,监督管理、审查广播电视与网络视听节目内容和质量,负责广播电视节目的进口、收录和管理,协调推动广播电视领域走出去工作等。

不再保留国家新闻出版广电总局。

(36) Establish China Central Radio and Television Station. Adhering to the correct direction of public opinion, attaching great importance to the construction and innovation of communication methods, and improving the dissemination, guidance, influence, and credibility of news and public opinion are important starting points for firmly grasping the leadership of ideological work. In order to strengthen the Party's centralized construction and management of important public opinion positions, enhance the overall strength and competitiveness of radio and television media, promote the integrated development of radio and television media and emerging media, and accelerate the construction of international communication capabilities, CCTV (China Global Television Station), the Central People's Radio Station, and China Radio International are integrated, and the China Central Radio and Television Station is established as a public institution directly under the State Council under the leadership of the Central Propaganda Department.

The main responsibilities are to publicize the Party's theory and line principles and policies, coordinate and organize major propaganda reports, organize radio and television creation and production, produce and broadcast high-quality radio and television products, guide social hot spots, strengthen and improve public opinion supervision, promote the development of multimedia integration, strengthen international Communication capacity building, tell Chinese stories, etc.

The establishment of China Central Television (China International Television Station), China Central People's Broadcasting Station, and China International Radio Station is revoked. The original call signs are retained internally, and the unified call sign externally shall be "Voice of China."

(三十六)组建中央广播电视总台。坚持正确舆论导向,高度重视传播手段建设和创新,提高新闻舆论传播力、引导力、影响力、公信力,是牢牢掌握意识形态工作领导权的重要抓手。为加强党对重要舆论阵地的集中建设和管理,增强广播电视媒体整体实力和竞争力,推动广播电视媒体、新兴媒体融合发展,加快国际传播能力建设,整合中央电视台(中国国际电视台)、中央人民广播电台、中国国际广播电台,组建中央广播电视总台,作为国务院直属事业单位,归口中央宣传部领导。

主要职责是,宣传党的理论和路线方针政策,统筹组织重大宣传报道,组织广播电视创作生产,制作和播出广播电视精品,引导社会热点,加强和改进舆论监督,推动多媒体融合发展,加强国际传播能力建设,讲好中国故事等。

撤销中央电视台(中国国际电视台)、中央人民广播电台、中国国际广播电台建制。对内保留原呼号,对外统一呼号为“中国之声”。