China regulates to protect whistleblowers on official crimes

Updated: 2016-04-08 16:01


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BEIJING - Reports on official corruption and crimes must only be heard by designated personnel and the information stored in password-protected computers, under new rules to protect whistleblowers.

Reports by phone or online should also only be taken through designated hotlines and websites, according to the regulation made public on Friday.

It was jointly released by the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) and the ministries of public security and finance with the aim of encouraging more whistleblowers to come forward.

The rules criminalize officials retaliating against whistleblowers through sacking or demoting them or their family members, as well as through violence.

Bian Jianlin of the China University of Political Science and Law said the rules provide important clarity on the illegality of obscure forms of retaliation, which have been in "the dead zone of the legal system."

"The new rules are more enforceable and will provide more comprehensive protection for whistleblowers," Bian said.

Also new is a clarification of whose responsibility it is to protect whistleblowers - prosecuting bodies, with police offering assistance.

The rules specify rewards for whistleblowers according to the significance of their evidence. For those with especially significant tip-offs, a ceiling of 500,000 yuan ($78,990) can be lifted with SPP approval.