A law that went into effect in March will punish Chinese citizens who question, criticize or mock historical figures.
While the Chinese Communist Party established the law in 2018, the criminal codes were not applied until March.
Since the change took effect, at least 15 people have been punished, according to the New York Post. And The New York Times outlines that the law, pushed by President Xi Jinping's leadership, is being enforced with immense effort to control China's past and future narratives.
China's Cyberspace Administration, which previously just monitored the internet, will now receive calls on a hotline for those who wish to report on other citizens who violate prescribed matters of speech.
Gordon Chang, author of ''The Coming Collapse of China,'' said: ''I don't think [Xi] has been able to successfully move China all the way back to totalitarianism. It's kind of a semi-totalitarian state, and this move to criminalize criticism of Communist Party icons is part of that.''
''The overall thing is that Xi Jinping has exerted more control over society, so that has manifested itself in many different ways, including a return to party orthodoxy,'' he added.
Chang pointed out that China used to allow some dissent and for people to ''blow off steam,'' but new laws similar to this one will lead to ''less and less of that.''
''This is strict obedience and loyalty to the party,'' Chang continued. ''This is like '1984,''' he said, referring to the 1949 novel by George Orwell. ''This is where you have total loyalty and love for the party. That's where this is going.''
Chang argued: ''This is self-wounding. We know how North Korea has wounded itself. This is basically the same thing.''
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