Arrests as China cracks down on Internet rumours

August 9, 2014
This photo taken on May 11, 2011 shows a Chinese young woman surfing the net at an Internet bar in Beijing

Police in China have arrested four people and detained or warned another 81 as authorities crack down on alleged Internet rumour-mongering, state media reported Saturday.

Police did not give details on the timing of the actions, Xinhua news agency said, adding that 16 websites were punished for "weak safety management".

Citing police, Xinhua said that the alleged rumour-mongers "used social network services to fabricate and spread rumours, or forward rumours published on foreign websites".

It added that among the rumours were "predictions of an earthquake in Beijing within two to six days and gunshots having been heard in the west of the Chinese capital".

The latest moves come amid a crackdown on the spread of online rumours, which rights groups have criticised as an excuse to punish people who publish information critical of the ruling Communist Party.

Hundreds have been detained in the campaign, while several bloggers have been handed lengthy jail sentences, resulting in a decline in use of microblogs.

Dong Rubin, a blogger known for criticising Communist Party officials, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail as part of the campaign last month, state media said.

China tightly controls the Internet, but its online population of 632 million has used messaging applications to push the boundaries of restrictions on free speech.

Control measures include the blocking of foreign websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube using a system known as the "Great Firewall".

State media reported Thursday that China is banning users of Internet messaging services from posting political reports without permission, and demanding they promise to "uphold the socialist system".

Internet companies are required to ensure that users of online messaging services register with their real names, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) cited the government's National Internet Information Office as saying.

Users will be required to agree to "seven bottom lines", including a vow to "uphold the socialist system", a euphemism for China's one-party dominated regime, when they register, CCTV said.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese use the Twitter-like Sina Weibo, and messaging app WeChat, among other online services.

The latest regulations appeared to be aimed at WeChat, an instant platform that allows users to share text, photos, videos and voice messages over mobile devices.

Explore further: China shuts 'rumour' blogs in Internet crackdown

Related Stories

China shuts 'rumour' blogs in Internet crackdown

April 25, 2012

One of China's most popular microblogging services has shut several accounts for spreading "malicious" rumours, as Beijing tightens control over the Internet after the ouster of a top leader.

China web users face prison for re-posted rumours

September 9, 2013

Chinese Internet users could face three years in prison for writing defamatory messages that are then re-posted 500 times under regulations announced Monday amid a broader crackdown on "online rumours".

China loses 27.8 million microblog users in 2013 (Update)

January 17, 2014

The number of online microblog users in China dropped by more than 27.8 million last year, marking the first major decline in popularity of a social media genre that has offered a way to share unfiltered information in a ...

China heightens crackdown on WeChat messaging

May 28, 2014

China's ruling Communist Party is launching a new crackdown on popular instant messaging platforms including Tencent's WeChat, state media said on Wednesday, the latest in a series of moves to stifle online speech.

China tightens controls on Internet messaging apps

August 7, 2014

China is banning users of Internet messaging services from posting political reports without permission, and demanding they promise to "uphold the socialist system", state media said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Software turns smartphones into tools for medical research

July 27, 2015

Jody Kearns doesn't like to spend time obsessing about her Parkinson's disease. The 56-year-old dietitian from Syracuse, New York, had to give up bicycling because the disorder affected her balance. But she still works, drives ...

Where is solar power headed?

July 22, 2015

Most experts agree that to have a shot at curbing the worst impacts of climate change, we need to extricate our society from fossil fuels and ramp up our use of renewable energy.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.