Prosecutors in China Promise to Crackdown on Metaverse And Blockchain Crimes

Prosecutors in China Promise to Crackdown on Metaverse And Blockchain Crimes

The Supreme People’s Procuratorate’s prosecutors stated that because cybercrimes have been more common in recent years, prosecutorial authorities have stepped up their efforts to combat them, particularly those that violate children’s rights. 

In a press conference hosted by China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Feb. 23, spokesperson Li Xuehui emphasized a rise in cybercrime that is taking place within blockchains and the metaverse.

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According to the top procuratorate, 280,000 individuals faced charges from January to November. This marks a 35.5 percent increase year-on-year, accounting for 18.8 percent of criminal offenses.

According to Ge Xiaoyan, deputy prosecutor-general of the SPP, there has been a significant surge in telecom fraud, with charges related to such crimes rising 63.5 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, there has been a notable increase in criminal activities involving personnel, information, technology, and funds for telecom fraud.

Highlighting Increasing Crypto Scams

Li pointed out that crypto money laundering has rapidly evolved into a mainstream conduit for illicit wealth and criminal activities. According to him, in the next step, the procuratorial organs will conscientiously implement the requirements of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, plan and promote the Internet legal work of procuratorial organs from a higher starting point, and provide a strong judicial guarantee for promoting the formation of a good Internet ecology.

Additionally, the director of the Fourth Procuratorate of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Zhang Xiaojin, cautioned the public about the prevalence of “high yield, low risk” investment scams within China’s local crypto economy. According to the Chinese prosecutor, individuals should be vigilant and adapt to evolving criminal strategies, citing the example of pig butchering as one of the most prominent scams.

Pig butchering is the act of forming a relationship with a victim, convincing them to contribute to a fraudulent digital asset project or exchange, and then disappearing with their money.

Surge in cybercrimes

According to Ge Xiaoyan, there is an ongoing emergence of new types of cybercrime using gimmicks such as the metaverse, blockchain, and binary options platforms. She said that virtual currencies are becoming safe havens for cybercrime.

Furthermore, she noted that conventional crimes such as gambling, theft, pyramid schemes, and counterfeiting have also permeated cyberspace. Charges for online fraud grew by 22.7 percent from January to November, while charges related to online counterfeiting and sales of inferior goods rose by 85.7 percent.

She said that criminals illegally obtain company-stored data through illegal methods, and instances of insider employees at network companies illegally accessing and selling company data are not uncommon.

Over $9 million in Tether’s USDT stablecoin was successfully confiscated by US authorities last year in relation to a swindle involving the slaughtering of pigs.

Zhou Huiyong, deputy head of the SPP’s first procuratorial office, stated that procuratorates have strengthened the protection of citizens’ personal information. This includes finances, biometrics, tracking, and health and physiological data, and they have intensified the punishment for such crimes. They have also emphasized comprehensive crackdowns from the point of theft to the point of sale.

He said that, focusing on issues of insiders leaking citizens’ personal information in industries such as finance, telecommunications, real estate, hotels, and labor intermediaries, procuratorates also promote source governance through the issuance of procuratorial recommendations.

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