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Strike telecom fraud at the root

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-01 07:58


The third draft of the Law Against Telecom Fraud was submitted to the National People's Congress Standing Committee, the country's top legislature, for review on Tuesday.

The necessity for this law cannot be overemphasized given that in 2020 alone, there were 927,000 telecom fraud cases, accounting for 40 percent of all criminal cases in China. The crime is so prevalent that almost everyone in China has at some point received a text message telling them they are under criminal investigation and must send some money as a guarantee to a private account.

In some cases, the frauds lure men into intimate video chats and then blackmail them by threatening to upload a recording of the video chat.

To curb telecom frauds, the public security departments have developed an anti-fraud app. But it is more important to crack down on criminal gangs than persuading potential victims to use the app. That is what the draft, once it becomes a law, is expected to do.

The draft was first reviewed in early 2021. Twenty months later it has entered the third review stage. While the earlier draft imposed harsh penalties on those participating in and supporting telecom frauds, the latest draft imposes penalties-such as a bad credit record, heavier fines, and more days of detention-on those whose actions are too light to be considered a crime. Such penalties can act as a deterrent.

The new draft also makes it clear that the local police should start investigating as soon as they receive reports of a telecom fraud. Even the public is encouraged to participate more actively; they will be given a bonus if they report a fraud call to the police instead of just disconnecting the line and forgetting about it. The people's courts and people's procuratorates at various levels are also required to play their roles well. We hope all these measures help in rooting out telecom fraud.

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