Stanley Lubman writes:
A new legal development in China could have broad implications for domestic internet users – and, more significantly, for meaningful legal reform.
The comprehensive Tort Liability Law that was passed in late December by the China’s National People’s Congress includes a provision that gives citizens the right to sue for infringement of their privacy, which thereby solidifies the legal foundation of that right (Chinese text available here). If the law is applied by the courts without Party interference, it could limit the growing practice of using the internet to harass and vilify people deemed by internet users to have committed criminal or improper acts.
The law (Articles 2 and 6) creates liability for anyone who has infringed on and damaged “civil rights and interests” of others, and includes a generally stated “right of privacy” (not otherwise defined) in a list of protected interests, including the right to reputation. An injured party may also sue an employer whose employees caused the injury in the course of their employment (Art. 34). Also subject to suit are internet service providers that are used to infringe on the “civil rights and interests” of another person, or are aware that users are committing the tort and do not take necessary measures to cease the offending action after being notified of it (Art. 36). (A summary is available here in PDF format.)
Read more in the Wall Street Journal.