Since the Wuxu year , the number of periodicals has risen vigorously, and newspapers are also often bound in volumes and sold at fixed prices. Therefore, in the 6th month of the 32 Year of Guangxu , the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Inspection and the Ministry of Education, have jointly determined the “Great Qing Special Code for Printed Materials” as follows:
Chapter I: Outline
I, A General Administration for Printing is established in the capital belonging to the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Inspection and the Ministry of Education. Everything involving all printing and news publishing, must be registered with this Administration.
II, This Code applies in all provinces. In all other territories, all local officials in charge are requested to consider how to handle it.
Chapter II: Printers, etc.
I, All unregistered printers, regardless of whether they undertake the printing of any kind of document or picture, will be considered to break the law. Fines imposed on all those violating this Article, may not exceed 150 Silver Yuan, prison sentences may not exceed five months, or both a prison sentence and a fine may be imposed.
II, All persons having printing or selling all sorts of printed products as livelihood, must petition for registration with the inspection government office of their business location according to this Code. The presentation of their petition for registration must occur in twofold, must be detailed, clearly related and true, and indicate the full name, birthplace and address of the petitioner, and in cases of shareholding, the full name, birthplace and address of the persons sharing in the benefit may be given.
III, When all inspection government offices concerned receive this sort of documents for registration petition, they ascertain the circumstances stated in the petition, the circumstances of all sorts of listed persons, and the duties to be undertaken. If the inspection government office concerned is of the opinion that it is appropriate, it reports this together with the original petition to the capital General Administration for Printing Registration, and all dates of reporting shall be the date of registry of the cases concerned. All petitions for printing registration, that are refuted or disallowed by any inspection government office concerned, regardless of what the grounds are, the inspection government office concerned must report the reasons for not allowing registration to the capital General Administration for Printing Registration in detail. When all inspection government offices report registration petition matters to the capital General Administration for Printing Registration, they are to clearly issue a public notice for the petitioner to know of the grounds for allowing registration and not allowing registration.
IV, If petitioners consider the grounds for refutation or disallowance of inspection government offices to be improper, they may within 12 months after public notification, go to the capital General Administration for Printing Registration, and file a petition for appeal; either they deliver it personally, or they request a representative to deliver it, or they deliver it through the Post Office.
V, When petitioning for registration, a registration fee of 10 Silver Yuan must be paid following the petition. Of the said fee, regardless of whether or not it is allowed, 5 Yuan is destined for the expenses of the inspection government office in conducting the full registration , the other 5 Yuan is destined for the inspection government office for the accompanying report to the capital General Administration for Printing Registry. All those going to the capital General Administration for Printing Registration to file a petition for appeal of registration matters because the inspection government office refuted or disallowed registrations, will not pay a fee. All due fees paid, are to be paid according to the quantities indicated in this Code; outside of this code, not the slightest amount of excessive fees are to be levied.
VI, All printers, regardless of what sort of materials they print, must clearly print the name of the printer on the materials they print, and the location of the printing shop. All those violating this Article, are subject to a fine which may not exceed 100 Yuan, a prison sentence which may not exceed three months or both a fine and prison sentence.
VII, All printers must keep detailed record books of the materials they print, regardless of whether they are documents, accounts, pictures, etc., in preparation for inspection at any time by inspection government offices or local officials or committee members in places where no inspection is established. All those violating this Article, are subject to a fine which may not exceed 100 Yuan, a prison sentence which may not exceed three months or both a fine and prison sentence. If , at the time where the government official concerned inspects this sort of records, what is recorded is not very clear, it may be subject to a punishment of a prison sentence or both a prison sentence and a fine of half the punishment imposed by this Article.
VIII, All those dealing in or distributing no matter which kind of printed material, if the said materials have not clearly printed the full name of the printer and the location of the printing shop, it will be considered as violating the law. All those violating this Article, will be punished with a fine, a prison sentence, or with both a fine and a prison sentence, according to Article 6 of this Chapter of this Code. Also, all the said materials that has no clear print of the printers’ full name and the location of the print shop are to be confiscated or destroyed, also without considering whether the said printed materials were permitted to be printed or not.
IX, All printers printing all sorts of printed materials, are to submit two copies of every item to the inspection government office of the location of printing, the said inspection government office will preserve one copy in the inspection government office, and submit one copy to the capital General Administration of Printing Registration. All those violating this Article, are subject to a fine which may not exceed 50 Yuan, a prison sentence which may not exceed one month or both a fine and prison sentence.
X, All those violating any article listed above for a second time, will be subject to double the punishment as listed above. Henceforth, the multiples of punishment are progressively increased on the basis of the punishment as listed in the text above, and according to the number of violations, up to a maximum of four times.
Chapter III: Recorded materials, etc.
I, What is called recorded materials, are either regularly published, or irregularly published, news record collections, etc., and are called recorded materials according to the categories named in this Code.
II, All printing, distribution, sale, peddling or distribution of all sorts of recorded materials, where the said recorded materials have not been registered with the capital General Administration for Printing Registry according to the provisions of this Code, are considered to break the law. All those violating this article, are to be punished according to Chapter II Article II of this Code.
III, All those wishing to publish or distribute recorded materials, may request registration with the inspection government office of the location of publishing or distribution, the petition for the registration request is to be submitted in two copies, and is to indicate the name of the recorded publication, whether they are published regularly or published irregularly, the full name, birthplace and address of the publisher and distributor, the location of publishing or distribution in detail, where there is shareholding, the full names, birthplaces and addresses of the beneficiaries may be divided, and the full name and address of all sorts of agents.
IV, After all the said inspection government office receive this sort of petition for request of registration, they are to ascertain the situation related in the petition, and the background of all sorts of listed persons, and the responsibilities they undertake. If the said inspection government office considers it to be proper, one copy of the original petition is to be reported to the capital General Administration of Printing Registry, and the date of reporting to the General Administration will be the registration date of the cases concerned. In all matters concerning this sort of petitions for registration request, where the inspection government office refutes or not permits it, all said inspection government offices shall handle it according to Chapter II Article III of this Code. When all said inspection government offices reporting this sort of registration request petitions to the capital General Administration of Printing Registry, they must clearly issue a public notice for the petitioner to know of the grounds for allowing registration and not allowing registration.
V, The same as Chapter II Article IC of this Code.
VI, Registration fees for all recorded materials are equal to the registration fees for printers provided in Chapter II Article V of this Code.
VII, Persons managing the publication of recorded materials, must submit two copies of every item of recorded materials they publish or distribute to the inspection government office of the location of distribution, and at the same time submit one copy to the capital General Administration of Printing Registry through the Post Office. All those violating this article, are punished by citing Chapter II Article IX of this Code.
Chapter IV, Libel
I, All matters relating to libel in printed materials is to be handled according to all following articles.
II, Of what is called libel, there are three sorts: (A) ordinary libel; (B) slander; (C) false accusations.
III, Ordinary libel, is a sort of expression slandering individuals, either written or printed, or using other method, that causes people reading it to hate other people, find other people evil, or even cause other people to lose their official position, lose their specialization or lose all other sorts of livelihood.
IV, Slander, is a sort of expression misleading people, that causes people reading it to bear grudges or humiliation, or cause outrage to the Emperor, the imperial family or the government, or incites the ignorant masses to violate decrees, regulations and the national system, and even causes everyone to have danger and chaos in their own hears because of illegal strong words, and even causes people to seek mutual revenge, and unsettles livelihoods.
V, False accusation is a sort of gossip trapping people, either already published or using publication as a means of threat, or coercing people in the belief that it should not be published and demanding property from them, etc.
VI, All following sorts of people, etc., are related to legal cases of libel: (A) the person publishing libellous lines; (B) the person printing libel; (C); the master of the libelling publishing house; (D) the agent of the libelling publishing house; (E) persons selling or peddling libellous items or delivering them. But all five sorts of persons listed in this Article must know the facts of the case.
VII, Matters concerning common libel, may be punished according to civil law and the criminal law.
VIII, In all circumstances where civil litigation is raised for libel, the said plaintiff does not need to prove the damage suffered through libel, but must prove that he did not induce the libel, in order for the examining official in charge to be able to resolve right and wrong, and the degree of seriousness, or to determine some compensation for the person suffering libel.
IX, In all civil litigation for libel, where the case has been decided upon, the original case may also be filed under criminal litigation, and where this is decided upon, the original case may not again be brought to civil litigation.
X, Regardless of whether common libel is accused under civil law or criminal law with the trial government office, the accused is permitted to prove that he truly believed it was no libel on the basis of the situation of the accused. Regardless of whether the case involves official matters, or involves private matters, for the words that he wants to explain, he must quietly await whether or not the judicial official believes it to be proper, and whether it should be published or not where the case involves the public interest.
XI, Common libel accused on the basis of criminal litigation, where the defendant proves that the matter accused, was not intended to bear a grudge, or even states that the plaintiff did not suffer harm because of this, the judicial official may accept the response of the defendant as true. However, if case details such as this are tried under civil procedure law, then the statements of the defendant may not be accepted as true by the judicial official; and may only mitigate the compensation demanded by the plaintiff because of this sort of facts.
XII, For all slander accused on the basis of criminal litigation, if the accuser holds an official post, and, according to usual practice, the accuser has the authority to be permitted to try of this sorts of cases; or if the rank of the accuser is relatively higher than that of a judicial official, he has the right to be permitted to direct it, he must always petition the governor-general of his office to handle it. To sum up, the accuser may not act as judicial, and may also not accuse subordinate officials on the basis of his position, if he wishes to accuse, he must file the accusation with the official of one rank higher. In case of being accused, the rest may be deduced by analogy. If there are officials violating this system, the defendant may file an appeal with the capital General Administration of Printing Registry. The said General Administration will on this basis request the Ministry of Commerce to petition the imperial court, to inspect and handle it according to the circumstances.
XIII, In case of slander situations, regardless of whether it concerns soldiers, civilians, etc., they shall all continue implementing their civil duties, report the slander situations to the nearest local government official, or report it to the senior official in that jurisdiction. Regardless of which kind of slander it is, if it is reported to the senior local government official, all said officials may asses the situation, and arrest all people involved, and seal up all said slandering materials, and simultaneously report the handling situation to the governor-general of that province. All said governor-generals, after they receive this sort of report, are to ascertain whether this is accurate in the light of the situation; if he feels it to be proper, he will order the secretary in charge to hold a court session, and arraign all persons involved.
XIV, After all slandering matters have been examined to be true and punished, all slandering materials are, according to the gravity of violation, either be confiscated, or destroyed, or returned, this is to be decided at that time by the judicial official.
XV, For all recorded materials, if found to truly have a slandering situation, apart from handling it according to all provisions in the above text, all printers, financiers or managers, etc., may not again have printing recorded materials as livelihood.
XVI, After all violations of slander are found to be true, they will be handled according to this Code, and guilt should not be determined of violations by other persons.
XVII, All those committing violations of all provisions explained in the above texts that are found to be true, are to be punished as follows:
A, All cases of common libel, are punished with a fine not exceeding 1000 Yuan, a prison sentence not exceeding 2 years, or by both a fine and a prison sentence.
B, All cases of slander, are punished with a fine not exceeding 5000 Yuan, a prison sentence not exceeding 10 years, or by both a fine and a prison sentence.
XVIII, All those repeating the offense, will be subject to a punishment double that of their first offence.
XIX, All managers and printers of all sorts of recorded materials, if they have ever been found to have committed slander once or ordinary libel twice, or have conspired in false accusations, the Great Qing Post Office is permitted to not deliver all the recorded materials in which said persons trade, or they may be handled as the governor-general of the location in which the cases where decided sees fit. Of all managers, financiers, printers, etc. of recorded materials, that are subject to our legal powers and commit slander, after the writer or distributors has been tried and convicted, the Great Qing Post Office will not deliver this sort of recorded materials.
Chapter V, Abetting
For all writings by other people, either published or printed, or entered into recorded materials, that are consequently published to the world, that lead to illegal matters, regardless of whether the matters are a violation of public law or private law, all said writers will be considered to be accessories related to the crime, but not on the spot. If this sort of writing has not yet led to illegal matters, the writer will be considered as an accessory to a failed crime.
Chapter VI: Time limits
I, All those selling or distributing all documents and images, either written, or printed, either in Chinese, or in any other language, in the unified territory of the Dynasty, have the right to be governed in the law.
II, After this Code is memorialized, accepted, and approved by the Vermillion Pencil, it will be issued for enforcement by the capital General Administration of Printing Registry, and after six months, must be realistically implemented.
第一章 大 纲
第四章 毁 谤
第五章 教 唆
第六章 时 限