While government organizations and Internet companies are waging a war against online rumor-spreading, Chinese experts have called for the country's Internet users to be vigilant against false information.
"Government administrations and Internet operators need to make joint efforts to address the issue, and netizens should refrain from spreading rumors in order to create a rumor-free online environment," said Liu Zhengrong, a senior official with the State Internet Information Office (SIIO).
The office revealed last week that more than 210,000 online posts have been removed and 42 websites have been closed down since mid-March as past of a crackdown on Internet-based rumor-mongering.
Last month, police in Beijing detained six individuals for allegedly fabricating and spreading rumors about military vehicles entering Beijing.
"Believing in rumors reflects a lack of knowledge and scientific judgment, which might easily trigger and amplify panic in the face of major public events," said Yang Jianhua, a professor at the Zhejiang Academy of Social Sciences.
Yang said it is of "urgent importance" to boost the public's scientific knowledge and heighten their awareness of law and morality.
Zhao Zhiguo, a senior official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, called on Internet companies to serve their "crucial obligation" to filter out harmful information.
"All Internet groups must fulfil their legal and social responsibilities to run their websites in a lawful, honest and civilized manner and refuse to serve as a platform for spreading rumors," Zhao said.
Earlier this month, three major websites (sina.com, baidu.com and qq.com) promised to firmly cooperate with relevant government departments to crack down on rumor-spreading, stating that they will improve their self-management and take effective measures to stop rumors.
"The Internet is now imbued with false and harmful information," said Zhu Guang, vice president of search giant baidu.com, adding that the group will spend more efforts recognizing and filtering out maliciously false content.
China has nearly 500 million Internet users and more than 300 million microbloggers, who post nearly 200 million entries on microblogging sites daily.