September 5, 2022
BEIJING – China’s top legislature took a major step against telecom and online fraud on Friday by adopting widely anticipated legislation that will significantly crack down on these crimes, which have long disturbed the public and led to people’s financial losses after receiving spam messages and crank calls.
The law on telecom and online fraud, which has 50 articles, was passed after being reviewed three times by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body, aiming to offer strong protection of people’s legitimate rights and harshly punish scammers.
The law will also build a joint force by improving the governance of telecommunication, finance and internet sectors to make the fight against fraud more effective, according to Wang Aili, an official from the NPC Standing Committee’s Legislative Affairs Commission.
“Enterprises in these sectors, as well as banks and payment institutions, should shoulder responsibilities of preventing fraud risks, optimizing their internal security systems and implementing real-name registration of their users, because swindlers must be deterred from the beginning,” he said.
Under the new law, companies in the sectors are required, for example, to remind clients and consumers to be on alert for new types of fraud.
The law, which will take effect on Dec 1, stipulates that anti-fraud knowledge and tips should be increasingly promoted and shared in communities, schools, villages and families to further help improve prevention awareness among the elderly and the youth, who are often easy victims.
Additionally, it increases penalties to scammers, clarifying that those who have engaged in such fraud and who have been criminally punished for the offense will be restricted from leaving the country.
“What we want is to use the law to coordinate government agencies, judicial departments and enterprises in the anti-fraud fight to eliminate behaviors that will harm people’s sense of security, happiness and fulfillment as quickly as we can,” Wang added.
China has stepped up efforts to combat telecom and online fraud in recent years. In a campaign not long ago, police officers in 30 provincial regions, including Guangdong, Henan and Hunan, captured more than 1,100 suspects who allegedly cheated people out of money by promoting fake online services, with over 3,000 mobile phones and computers seized at the same time, the Ministry of Public Security reported last month.
Meanwhile, judicial departments nationwide have been showing the public－via livestreaming, short-video apps and other readily available means－how to avoid such scams.
As some people, particularly teenagers, were defrauded by being lured to buy online game equipment, the Cyberspace Administration of China has worked with the ministry in the fight against scammers since the beginning of this year. So far, they have resolved more than 12,000 such cases and urged internet operators to improve the public’s channels for reporting fraud-related clues.