China has passed a new law making it illegal for anyone other than the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) to give weather forecasts.
This bars Chinese citizens from predicting anything from “temperature and wind speed to solar activity and geomagnetic storms.”
According to The Washington Post, chaos caused by unofficial and inaccurate weather reports underlies the new regulation. And China’s Global Times explained that “the ban aims to prevent public panic caused by inaccurate weather information disseminated through private channels.”
The Times provided the following example:
In March, a false alert about the approach of a Category 17 super typhoon to East China’s Fujian Province went viral on local social media, leading some residents to cancel their travel plans for the approaching Tomb Sweeping Day holidays.
The Times warned everyone to read the new regulation and pointed out that the punishment for going against it was quite severe: “Violators can be fined up to 50,000 yuan ($8,062) for releasing unofficial forecasts and alerts or spreading false information, and could face criminal charges should casualties or property loss result from such announcements.”
There is still a learning curve with the new regulation, as it does not stipulate how “commercial weather-related smartphone apps will be regulated.”
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