China has passed a new law banning the defamation of military personnel as the country tries to weed out comments critical of the armed forces, many of which were made on social media in context of the Sino-India border conflict last year.
The new law will add to the arsenal of existing legal measures under a 2018 law, which said that any individuals or groups defaming or slandering martyrs’ names, portraits or reputation would be punished and held criminally responsible for their behaviour.
It was under the existing legal measures that a popular Chinese blogger was given an eight-month jail sentence for posting comments considered slanderous against People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers killed in last year’s clash with the Indian Army at the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.
The new law was passed by China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC) on Thursday. “No organisation or individual may in any way slander or derogate the honour of servicemen, nor may they insult or slander the reputation of members of military forces,” the legislation read, according to a report by the Xinhua news agency.