Sunday, June 13, 2021

Chinese legislation forbidding slander or demeaning the honor of military personnel

China's new Law on the Protection of the Status, Rights, and Interests of Military Personnel includes the following provision:

Article 32: The honor and reputation of military personnel shall be protected by law.

The honor obtained by a soldier shall be enjoyed by him for life, and shall not be revoked except for statutory reasons or procedures.

No organization or individual may in any way slander or demean the honor of soldiers, insult or slander the honor of soldiers, and must not intentionally damage or defile the awards of soldiers.

The new legislation was adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on June 10, 2021 and goes into force on August 1, 2021.

H/T to Global Military Justice Reform contributor Susan Finder for the link to the statute and the translation.

This news report explains:
Recently, a popular Chinese blogger was sentenced to eight months in jail under the existing law for “defaming” People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers killed in last year's clash with the Indian Army at the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.

Qiu Ziming, who had over 2.5 million followers, was also ordered to publicly apologise through major domestic portals and the national media within 10 days to eliminate the negative impact.

While the Indian Army announced that 20 of its personnel were killed in the clash on June 15 last year just a few days after the face-off, the Chinese PLA took nearly eight months to acknowledge that it had suffered casualties during the incident and revealed that it had lost four of its military personnel.

Prosecutors can file PIL for defaming Chinese army

The new law allows prosecutors to file public interest litigation in cases of defamation of military personnel and the infringement on their legitimate rights and interests that have seriously affected their performance of duties and missions and damaged the public interests of society. It also bans the desecration of plaques in honour of military personnel.

Song Zhongping, a former PLA instructor and Hong Kong-based military affairs commentator said the legislation which also covers families of service personnel was meant to bolster the military personnel’s sense of mission.

“Previously, our legal instruments were not complete and this new law will provide more comprehensive protection for the rights and honours of our [troops].

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