On­line cult ac­tiv­ity faces tougher pun­ish­ments

China Daily (Canada) - - NEWS CAPSULE -

China has stepped up ef­forts to pun­ish those who pro­mote cults on­line and via so­cial me­dia.

Chi­nese law de­fines a cult is an il­le­gal or­ga­ni­za­tion that tries to con­trol peo­ple by de­ify­ing the sect leader; de­ludes mem­bers un­der the guise of re­li­gion or in other names; and en­gages in ac­tiv­i­ties that harm so­ci­ety.

Ac­cord­ing to the ju­di­cial in­ter­pre­ta­tion, which will take ef­fect on Feb 1, those who use on­line chat rooms and so­cial me­dia plat­forms such as WeChat for cult-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties may face im­pris­on­ment, as can those who print cult mes­sages on bank notes.

Cult mem­bers who have for­eign con­nec­tions, re­cruit peo­ple in other ar­eas, carry out cult ac­tiv­i­ties at key fes­ti­vals, preach to mi­nors or work as civil ser­vants will be se­verely pun­ished, the ju­di­cial in­ter­pre­ta­tion stated.

Mean­while, peo­ple who re­pent join­ing cults will be han­dled le­niently. Those who were tricked or forced into join­ing a cult will be ex­empt from pun­ish­ment.

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