China has approved a law prohibiting “defamation” of military people, bolstering a 2018 rule that has seen a Chinese famous blogger sentenced for “defaming” PLA troops died in last year’s fight with the Indian Army in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. The Indian Army reported on June 15 last year that 20 of its soldiers were killed in a fight with Chinese soldiers, but the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) took 8 months to disclose that four of its soldiers died and one officer was wounded. 

The law, which was approved by the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee on Thursday, specifies that no person or entity may defame or derogate the honour of soldiers in any form, nor disrespect or defame the character of armed forces personnel. The new legislation also prohibits the destruction of military memorial plaques.

According to the new law, prosecutors can file public interest litigation in cases of defamation of army members on their lawful rights and liberties that have significantly harmed their ability to perform their duties and missions  

According to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, the new law combines a slew of other legal measures that already prohibit defamation of revolutionary “martyrs,” including modifications to the country’s penal code and a 2018 Law on the Protection of Heroes and Martyrs. Song Zhongping, a former PLA instructor and military affairs commentator living in Hong Kong, said of the new rule, “We must recognise that military conflicts in the future could be very intensive, and ensuring that the military is well respected in society is very important,”