Party officials must avoid any online religious activity in support of religious extremism, separatism and terrorism, according to a Communist Party of China (CPC) notice to regulate the online behavior of all Party officials.
Released by the Publicity and Organization Departments of the CPC Central Committee and the Office of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs, the notice instructs Party officials not to leak Party and national classified information through the Internet or to visit illegal and reactionary websites, chinapeace.gov.cn, a website administrated by the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, reported on Tuesday.
Party officials should strictly observe political discipline over the Internet, establish political consciousness and always support the CPC Central Committee, the notice says.
In the information age, new media has become mainstream, and the Party needs to further manage how Party members use the Internet, Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
"China is at the crucial stage of its reform. We have made great achievements but also bear problems, such as corruption," Su said. "But some Party members do not realize this and make improper comments online."
"Furthermore, ideologies against China are often spread through cultural exchanges on the Internet, which has affected the thinking of some Party members," Su noted. Therefore, Party political discipline in the cyberspace should be strengthened, Su said.
The document also states that Party officials should report to Party organizations if they plan to create a domestic or overseas social media account, including Sina Weibo, WeChat and other online forums in their official capacity.
"Social media platforms have connected Party members to other people, which should not be abandoned but requires further regulation to better serve the people," Su said.
Party officials must not spread or take part in spreading speeches or comments that smear the image of the Party, China and Party leaders online. They are also banned from distorting the history of the Party, the People's Liberation Army and China, or spreading political rumors online, the notice adds.
Party officials who violate the rules and codes mentioned in the notice will be punished in accordance with Party disciplines and relevant State laws and regulations.
"All levels of Party organizations should practice the regulation to strengthen Party management," Su said.