The public can report crimes committed by military personnel or damaging information related to national security to military authorities via a new website that began operating on Monday.
Internet users can report cases of theft or leaks of military secrets, false rumors about the People's Liberation Army or anyone impersonating the military to www.PLA110.cn－the new site launched by the Committee for Political and Legal Affairs of the Central Military Commission.
Experts said this site and one launched in November will allow the public to supervise military personnel, curb false information on the internet and make rumormongers accountable for their actions.
The other website, www.81.cn/jubao/index.htm, began operating on Nov 19. It is operated by China Military Online, the official website of PLA Daily newspaper, under the guidance of the Central Military Commission's Political Work Department.
Although the two websites share similarities in the tips they solicit, the PLA110 site is more focused on crimes and their culprits, while the 81cn site leans toward managing false information and rumors on social media and the internet, their mission statements say.
On PLA110, people can report crimes and misconduct by military personnel, including gambling or spreading military-related rumors. The website also offers tips on spotting military impersonators.
People can choose to send information anonymously or register using their real name and ID number. Then they can write a 200-character summary, submit photos or videos, or post a link to report a website.
After submitting the report, the user will receive a code to check on its status. Rewards are planned for useful information, though no details were offered.
In 2017, China's military was beset by numerous false allegations, experts said.
Jin Yong, vice-president of the School of International Studies at the Communication University of China, said the military has seen a major buildup and reforms in the past five years, and it pays a lot of attention to its image, which rumors can try to undermine.
"Rumors can be stopped with open and active communication between the military and public," he said. The websites provide new ways to help "squash online rumors promptly, and protect the image and public trust toward the military".
Wang Sixin, a professor of internet legal systems at the Communication University of China, said: "For serious fabrications, the military can use submitted reports as evidence or leads to catch the culprit and pursue criminal charges. For those who commit lesser offenses, it will still leave a stain on their credit record, or even get them blacklisted on the internet."