Visitors wearing masks walk along Wangfujing Street in Beijing on January 25 amid the outbreak of novel coronavirus in Wuhan. (Photo: Global Times)
The high people's court of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province published an urgent notice to crack down on coronavirus-related crimes, in which violations can be subject even to the death penalty.
The court published the notice on its official website on Friday, saying it would severely punish 36 crimes related to the prevention and control of epidemics in accordance with the law.
According to the notice, which has China's Criminal Law as its legal basis, people who spread the virus intentionally and endanger public security would be suspected of violating the criminal law and can be sentenced to death.
The Criminal Law says that "actions that endanger public security" can be subject to the death penalty if the situation is severe.
People who carry out unauthorized acts such as stopping or blocking traffic may be suspected of violating the criminal law, and committing the crime of damaging traffic facilities and vehicles can also be punishable by death, said the notice.
People who use the virus to create or spread rumors, to promote secession from China or undermine national unity, or incite subversion of state power or the overthrow of the socialist system can face a maximum 15-year jail term.
The notice said that other crimes related to the prevention and control of the virus shall be dealt with in accordance with the relevant provisions of the criminal law.
Amid China's resolute battle against the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak, rumormongering on social media platforms has triggered irrational behavior among netizens.
The Pudong district government of Shanghai clarified late on Saturday on its Sina Weibo account that the report about a resident in Pudong who set fire to his house by spraying alcohol to disinfect the house while his wife was cooking was fake.