China Introduces Cash Rewards for Whistleblowers
Reliable protection of whistleblowers is extremely important for the operation of the security system, according to legal experts.
Emergency management agencies should provide cash rewards to whistleblowers who report latent threats that could lead to major accidents or occupational safety issues, encouraging the public to think about a whistleblower reporting mechanism in other areas of life..
If amendments are passed to allow informants to be rewarded at manufacturing companies, they will be able to receive cash rewards ranging from 3,000 yuan ($ 421) to 300,000 yuan ($ 42,160). The Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) will also provide special rewards if the information of informants will directly avoid an accident that could lead to the death of people, according to a draft ministerial decree published on Wednesday. The project was made public to draw public attention to the problem and further public discussion.
The ministry is also considering whether to bring in whistle-blowers in industries such as mining, chemical plants, fireworks, and steel mills. These insiders will help the ministry track hidden security breaches on a regular basis. at these enterprises through special communication channels.
The State Council of China last September raised the issue of establishing a legal reporting mechanism. Thus, through such a mechanism, whistleblowers will be able to receive remuneration and will be protected by law..
Term «debunker» has become popular in China since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctor Zhang Jixiang recognized as an informant, was a Wuhan physician who first reported cases of pneumonia of unknown cause prior to its outbreak.
China advocates policy equivalent to a reporting mechanism designed to get people to identify abuses in the workplace, such as in universities and government departments.
However, the mechanism is not yet ready due to the lack of protection for whistleblowers, believes Zhi Zhenfeng, Legal Expert at Beijing Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
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The real whistleblower is a person with a sense of justice who cares about the public interest, so a money-driven mechanism may not represent their own motives, Zhi told the Global Times. He called an adequate mechanism that would protect their own security and interests. According to the expert, this is what really matters.
Addressing the issue of the identity of the whistleblowers, the ministry said in the draft that the legal rights of whistleblowers will be reliably protected..
«Only by protecting their rights will their motivation to offer information be increased and thus, in turn, increase the safety of production.», – said in the draft.
Personnel who deal with whistle-blower information will be legally liable for any form of leakage of whistleblower information, names and contacts. If it is determined that the activities of government officials retaliate against informants, they will also be punished by the ministry..
Zhi said the ministry needs to further elaborate a whistleblower protection mechanism, which includes helping to change jobs and providing personal security measures if they face retaliation or de-anonymization. The mechanism of punishment for the leakage of information of whistleblowers must also be properly configured..
The intention to formally induce whistleblowers to report security breaches at their own companies has sparked a heated debate among the Chinese public, with many saying there is a sense of mistrust in the whistleblower policy. Some repeated the words Zhi, calling for additional legal provisions to support the whistleblowing mechanism.
According to the Ministry of Emergencies, informants must be official employees of business structures and provide their real names and contact information. If they receive monetary compensation, they will be required to submit copies of their ID and employment contract.
The promotion of whistleblower signals of hidden dangers in manufacturing companies began in 2018, the ministry said, but the current regulation does not differentiate between public signals and information provided by company employees..
Latent hazards that can cause a serious accident refer to serious problems that can only be eliminated after a certain time of correction, either through a complete or partial suspension of the business, or a hazard caused by external factors that the enterprise is unable to cope with on its own..
Authorities will issue standards defining hidden hazards in industries such as coal mining. «Production safety violations» refer to conduct that violates laws, regulations, and industry professional standards.
There were 170 fatalities and 316 deaths in coal mines in 2019, which is 24.1% and 5.1% lower than the same period in the previous year, respectively, according to official statistics..