China launches hotline to crack down on ‘historical nihilists’, who ‘insult’ Chinese heroes

Beijing: In a move to crack down on ‘historical nihilists’ ahead of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 100th anniversary in July, China’s cyber regulator has launched a hotline to report online comments that defame the ruling party.

The hotline allows people to report fellow netizens who ‘distort’ the party’s history, attack its leadership and policies, defame national heroes and ‘deny the excellence of advanced socialist culture’ online, Fox News reported citing a notice by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Friday.

The notice read: “Some with ulterior motives … have been spreading historical nihilistic misrepresentations online, maliciously distorting, denigrating and negating the history of the Party.”

“We hope that the majority of Internet users will actively play their part in supervising society … and enthusiastically report harmful information,” it added.

The internet is tightly censored in China and most foreign social media networks, search engines and news outlets are banned in the country.

‘Historical nihilism’ is a term used in China to describe public doubt and scepticism over the CCP’s description of past events, according to Fox News.

Earlier this year, legal amendments stipulated that people who ‘insult, slander and infringe upon’ the memories of China’s national heroes and martyrs may face imprisonment for upto three years.

Last week, authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu detained a 19-year-old man after making “insulting” comments online about Japan’s 1937 occupation of Nanjing, Fox News reported.

China has been globally criticised for its rigorous censorship of information, most notably for withholding information on the outbreak of the coronavirus.