Chinese courts hearing more cybersecurity cases
The number of court cases related to cybersecurity has grown rapidly in China in the past five years, the top court said on Tuesday.
From January 2014 to November, courts nationwide concluded 1,866 criminal cases involving the illegal control or invasion of network systems and punished 3,263 defendants, according to data released by the Supreme People's Court.
"The crimes seriously harmed national security and people's interests, and have become more frequent," said Zhou Jiahai, deputy director of the top court's Research Office.
Zhou made the remark at a news conference where he described five significant or new types of cybersecurity cases. "Lower-level courts can take them as references if they encounter similar offenses," he added.
In June last year, five defendants were jailed for between 15 and 22 months by Xi'an Intermediate People's Court in Shaanxi province after they hacked local pollution monitoring systems, Zhou said, adding that it was the first case of people seriously disturbing such networks.
In addition, more defendants have been making illicit profits by taking advantage of online platforms, such as WeChat, or helping online service providers commit crimes, he said.
For example, four people were given prison sentences ranging from three years to three and a half years by a court in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in November 2016 for using WeChat to conduct gambling, Zhou said.
Since November 2015, "using online platforms to commit crimes" has been listed in the Criminal Law.
"We're studying specific situations and drafting a related judicial interpretation," Zhou said, adding that it is expected to be issued before June.