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April 2, 2012

China shuts down websites after coup rumour

Beijing Police and the State Internet Information Office (SIIO) reported that 16 websites were closed and six people taken into custody for “fabricating or disseminating online rumors,” on Friday.

By Vinod

A spokesman with SIIO said the six people taken by Beijing Police were detained for spreading rumours of "military vehicles entering Beijing and something wrong going on in Beijing," according to Xinhua news agency.

The websites, meizhou.net, xn528.com and cndy.com.cn were closed for spreading said rumours.

The spokesman said the rumours have caused "a very bad influence on the public" and the websites were closed for failing to stop the spread of rumours, which is their responsibility by law.

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Photo Credit: Liam Dunn

This comes after one of the ruling communist party’s senior leaders has faced political downfall. Bo Xilai was dismissed as party leader of Chongqing after his police chief fled to a US consulate in February. The scandal has resulted in China’s communist party preparing itself for a big leadership change this year.

The rumours were also particularly spread through microblogging posts according to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Public Security. The rumours of a coup appeared on two popular microblogging sites Sina’s Weibo and Tencent. Both sites have been "criticized and punished accordingly" by Internet authorities in Beijing and Guangdong.

Both microblogging sites were said to have promised to strengthen their management.

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In a statement on Friday Beijing police encouraged online users to follow laws and stay clear of online rumours, which according to Xinhuanet News, police say disturb public order, undermine social stability and deserve punishment.

 

Please follow this author on Twitter @Tineka_S or comment below.

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