Successful Anti-Fraud Practice in China

Telecom and online fraud began to appear in China in the 1990s and has thereafter spread wildly and affected a large number of citizens. China's top leaders have been paying high attention to this issue, requiring adhering to a people-centered approach, paying attention to governance at the source and comprehensive governance, sticking to joint action and mass prevention and governance and resolutely curbing the trend of frequent occurrences of such crimes. The Chinese government adheres to upholding fundamental principles and breaking new ground, problem orientation and systems thinking, continuously explores the path of cracking down on crimes of telecom and online fraud and advances various tasks in depth with unprecedented efforts, which has led to unprecedented historical achievements. The number of telecom and online fraud cases solved in China in 2021 was five times that of five years ago. The incidence of such cases in China has declined year on year for 17 consecutive months since June 2021, showing effective curbing of the trend of frequent occurrences. In the world today, crimes of telecom and online fraud are rapidly developing and spreading in various countries and have become a worldwide common danger and a global problem to solve. What shall we do China has explored a Chinese solution to this global problem through successful practice: adhering to the people-centered approach and comprehensively strengthening the development of special research, special teams, special case solving and expertise as well as internal synergy and external synergy.

Strengthening special research to continuously improve the legal system

Crimes of telecom and online fraud represent a complex social governance problem. Diversified, all-round special research at various levels is the prerequisite for the targeted, accurate and efficient crackdown work and is the basis of planning and a precondition for success.

-Policy documents have been researched and formulated. Based on special research, the Chinese government has successively introduced a series of normative policy documents such as the Opinions on Strengthening the Work of Cracking down on and Controlling Crimes of Telecom and Online Fraud, the Announcement on Preventing and Cracking down on Crimes of Telecom and Online Fraud, the Notice on Matters concerning Strengthening the Administration of Payment and Settlement and Preventing New-Type Illegal and Criminal Telecom and Online Activities, the Work Plan for Advancing the Construction of a Long-term Mechanism for Preventing and Controlling Crimes of Telecom and Online Fraud Using Big Data and the Several Provisions on the Return of Frozen Funds Involved in Cases of New-Type Violations of Laws and Crimes Related to Telecommunications Networks.

-Legal guiding opinions have been researched and introduced. In order to crack down on crimes of telecom and online fraud, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security jointly introduced the Opinions (I) and (II) on Several Issues concerning the Application of Law in the Handling of Telecom and Online Fraud and other Criminal Cases. China's Law on Combating Telecom and Online Fraud was officially introduced in September 2022 to provide strong legal support for the crackdown work.

-Research on the patterns of crimes and countermeasures has been strengthened. The Chinese government has built a diversified research system in key areas such as public security, communications, finance and the Internet involving colleges and universities, research institutes and societies and associations to keep an eye on changes in modus operandi and formulate corresponding crackdown countermeasures, keep an eye on changes in criminal groups and strengthen corresponding research on rectification measures, and keep an eye on changes in defrauded groups and strengthen corresponding research on accurate early warning and publicity and prevention countermeasures. In 2021, the Chinese government established the National Center for Study of New Types of Crimes and 11 sub-centers to continuously strengthen research on new criminal means, new problems, new trends and new situations and always take the initiative in cracking down on the crimes.

Strengthening special teams to continuously improve their capabilities and levels

Crimes of telecom and online fraud are specialized transnational organized crimes, therefore, the Chinese government adheres to cracking down on such specialized crimes through special means. It has established special agencies, replenished special forces and strengthened specialized training to realize leapfrog improvement in capabilities and levels of cracking down on telecom and online fraud.

-Four-tiered anti-fraud centers have been established. China has set up a National Anti-Fraud Center and eight national sub-centers that integrate professional talents, professional means, professional equipment and professional capabilities and encouraged provinces, cities and counties to establish corresponding anti-fraud centers.

-Special anti-fraud forces have been replenished. According to the principle of deploying police forces based on the extent of emergencies, Chinese police continue to replenish special anti-fraud teams depending on the local incidence of telecom and online fraud cases. At the same time, Chinese competent departments for finance, communications, the Internet, etc. have designated special forces to take charge of anti-fraud work, and their teams are constantly expanding.

-Anti-fraud expert teams have been set up. The Chinese government has set up a national think tank and expert team to crack down on telecom and online fraud and selected expert members from all walks of life; Chinese police have selected invited criminal investigation experts, anti-fraud experts and talented and competent people according to different teams and levels to provide strong talent guarantee and intellectual support for anti-fraud work.

-Anti-fraud specialized training has been strengthened. Chinese procuratorial, judicial and public security departments and competent departments for finance, communications and the Internet have held more than 10,000 various specialized training sessions on cracking down on crimes of telecom and online fraud. In 2021, the Criminal Investigation Police University of China took the lead in launching the telecom and online fraud investigation direction of the Science of Criminal Investigation major and enrolled the first group of undergraduates in September of the same year, which has blazed a trail for public security colleges and universities to cultivate specialized anti-fraud talents.

Strengthening special case solving to continuously strengthen crackdown and deterrence

Crackdowns are the best prevention. Chinese police have maintained severe combat against crimes of telecom and online fraud. In recent years, the Ministry of Public Security has continued to deploy and launch the Cloud Sword Operation of National Public Security Organs on Combating Crimes of Telecom and Online Fraud in which public security organs in China are organized to severely combat crimes of telecom and online fraud, which has achieved remarkable results and formed strong deterrence.

-Transnational fraud has been severely cracked down on.China actively conduct law enforcement and judicial cooperation on the basis of respecting each country’s sovereignty in combating fraud.Chinese police have been invited to more than 20 countries and regions.With the strong support of the law enforcement and judicial authorities of the host contries,Chinese police escorted Chinese fraud suspects through extradition and other means of law enforcement.

-Core members and heads have been severely cracked down on. The Nail Pulling operation has been deployed and launched to arrest and punish the core members and heads of telecom and online fraud groups, and Class-A Wanted Orders of the Ministry of Public Security have been issued against criminal suspects with great harm among them. Nearly 100 core members and leaders of telecom and online fraud groups have so far been arrested.

-Serious crimes have been severely cracked down on. Major case solving work has been organized for major cases involving large defrauded amounts, and particularly major cases have been directly investigated by the Ministry of Public Security of China; for frequently-occurring cases such as rebates for false purchases, online loaning, online shopping and online investment, command posts for frequently-occurring cases have been established to crack down on them; for circumstances in which large numbers of phone cards and bank cards are used for telecom and online fraud, the card cutting campaign has been deployed and launched to greatly increase the cost of crime; for circumstances in which people are organized and recruited to engage in fraudulent activities overseas, the flow cutting campaign has been deployed and launched to focus on cracking down on the organizers behind the scenes and continuously squeeze the survival space of fraud groups.

-Black market crimes have been severely cracked down on. Keeping up with the changing situation, Chinese police continue to innovate crackdown methods. For various black-market crimes of telecom and online fraud such as traffic attraction for promotion, technology development, money transfer for laundering, server leasing and domain name resale, nationwide regional battles have been deployed and launched. Public security, communications, finance and Internet departments have pooled nationwide superior resources, determined crime clues in a targeted manner and organized centralized crackdowns to maximize the effectiveness of large-scale crackdowns.

Strengthening expertise to continuously increase the working efficiency

Crimes of telecom and online fraud are specialized high-tech crimes in which fraud groups continue to update and upgrade their modus operandi using new technologies and new business forms, such as blockchain, virtual currencies, AI and GOIP, to increasingly attack or defend themselves against and confront us in aspects such as communication networks and money transfer for laundering. The Chinese government pays high attention to the research and application of anti-fraud expertise, sticks to fighting fraud groups and continues to adjust crackdown and prevention measures and has kept the initiative and won expertise battles one after another.

-Technical prevention has been strengthened. Chinese public security, financial, communications and Internet departments have improved the risk prevention and control mechanism and improved early warning, identification, prevention and handling capabilities to conduct technical prevention work related to fraudulent phone calls, SMS, domain names and websites and network accounts.

-Early warnings and alerts have been strengthened. “Laying equal stress on crackdown and prevention and putting prevention first are adhered to. Big data, cloud computing, etc. have been used to timely identify victims and give precise alerts. The Chinese government has opened the 96110 hotline and the 12381 SMS platform, which have effectively improved the effectiveness of early warnings and alerts and successfully prevented a large number of people from being defrauded.

-The development of specialized laboratories has been strengthened. Chinese police vigorously advance the building of smart public security, give full play to the advantages of criminal science and technology support and comprehensively improve their analysis and evidence collection capabilities related to capital flow, information flow and network flow, which provides strong technical support for cracking down on crimes of telecom and online fraud.

Advancing internal synergy to initially form a society-wide anti-fraud work pattern

The Chinese government always adheres to a people-centered approach, coordinates development and security, pays attention to governance at the source and comprehensive governance, sticks to joint action and mass prevention and governance and insists on the extensive mobilization of the masses. It has established a society-wide anti-fraud work pattern in which “the work is led by the government, primary responsibilities are taken by related departments, regulation is conducted by industries, joint actions are taken by relevant sides and all sectors of society are involved”.

-An anti-fraud working mechanism involving multiple departments has been established by the government. The State Council of China has approved the establishment of an inter-ministerial joint meeting system led by the Ministry of Public Security and participated in by 25 departments and entities to crack down on new-type violations of laws and crimes related to telecommunications networks. Governments at the provincial, municipal and county levels have also established their own joint meeting mechanisms to create an innovative anti-fraud work pattern in the whole society.

-A whole-police-force anti-fraud working mechanism has been established by public security organs. Three kinds of effective synergy have been formed within China's public security organs vertical synergy with efficient linkage at various levels, regional synergy with full collaboration across the country and horizontal synergy with close cooperation among various types of police forces. A whole-police-force anti-fraud working mechanism with clear responsibilities, close coordination, overall linkage and efficient operation has been established.

-Anti-fraud work has been fully launched in the information and communication industry. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China (MIIT) has arranged the information and communication industry to set up anti-fraud special work teams at the ministerial, provincial and enterprise levels to investigate and handle a large number of fraud-involved phone cards and Internet accounts. The MIIT has also developed the anti-fraud responsibility list of telecommunications enterprises and Internet enterprises and urged them to implement the responsibilities through measures such as assessment and accountability, notification and interviews and supervision and handling, so as to ensure their performance of responsibilities.

-Regulation has been tightened in the financial industry. The People's Bank of China and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission have arranged the financial industry to establish an anti-fraud prevention and control system for the payment system and a categorized and classified management system of accounts, strengthen the real-name account system and improve the monitoring mechanism for fraud risks. They have assisted public security organs in cracking down on the transactions of accounts, made fraud involvement a regulatory red line and included the fraud involvement situation of banking financial institutions and payment institutions in regulatory assessments.

-Anti-fraud publicity and prevention have been launched in the whole society. The Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the People's Bank of China, etc. have fully exerted their functions and roles and organized publicity on combating telecom and online fraud at communities, rural areas, families, schools and enterprises. They have successively launched 13,000 theme publicity activities, distributed 690 million copies of publicity materials and sent 3.07 billion public welfare text messages. The National Anti-Fraud Center official government accounts cumulatively posted 8,460 videos with a total of 4.72 billion views in 2021, which significantly improved people's ability to identify and prevent fraud and created a strong anti-fraud atmosphere in the whole society.

Facilitating external synergy to continuously strengthen international law enforcement and judicial cooperation

In the era of globalization, no country can remain insulated. In the face of the serious and complex situation of transnational telecom and network fraud, the willingness of countries to strengthen crackdowns, seek control and pursue cooperation is very strong. In 2010, the first international law enforcement cooperation between Chinese police and Philippine police smashed the 11.30 extra-large transnational telecom and online fraud criminal group. Thereafter, the Chinese government has been committed to fulfilling its international obligations, actively advancing international law enforcement cooperation, continuously contributing Chinese wisdom, Chinese solutions and Chinese strength and working to facilitate strong synergy among countries to crack down on crimes of telecom and online fraud.

-In the Asia-Pacific region and Africa, China has successively conducted law enforcement cooperation with Cambodia, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, etc. to crack down on crimes of telecom and online fraud, accumulating successful experience and forming good mechanisms.

-In Europe, Operation Great Wall conducted between Chinese police and Spanish police in 2016 successfully smashed 13 telecom and online fraud criminal groups, arrested 237 suspects and extradited 225 suspects to China, which became a model of international law enforcement cooperation. In 2018, staff of the Ministry of Public Security of China visited Europol to exchange experience on Operation Great Wall and discuss law enforcement cooperation between China and European countries with reference to this model.

-In the multilateral sphere, Chinese police participated in the anti-fraud Operation First Light with the police of 76 member states within the framework of INTERPOL from March to June 2022, which smashed 1,770 fraud hideouts in multiple countries, arrested more than 2,000 suspects and intercepted more than USD 50 million of illegal funds.

We will not know how hard a thing is unless we first experience it. Crackdowns on crimes of telecom and online fraud have made a series of breakthroughs and landmark results in recent years and the situation is getting better in China. Facts have proved that the Chinese solution of adhering to the people-centered approach and comprehensively strengthening the development of special research, special teams, special case solving and expertise as well as internal synergy and external synergy is correct. China is willing to share its practices and experience with other countries, so as to jointly solve the problem of transnational telecom and online fraud and build a universally secure human community with a shared future.