The Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate said violators would face defamation charges if online rumors they posted were visited more than 5,000 times or re-tweeted more than 500 times, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
A defamation conviction can result in a three-year prison sentence or loss of political rights
Businesses paid to delete online messages or post false information also can face jail terms of up to five years and a fine equal to five times the company's illegal gains from such practices, according to the bodies' interpretation of Chinese law.
The interpretation becomes effective Tuesday.
Couple mistakenly served bag of cash at McDonald's drive-thru
Gal Gadot cast as Wonder Woman for 'Batman vs. Superman'