4 rumor-mongers arrested, 81 quizzed

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 10, 2014
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Four people have been arrested on suspicion of fabricating and spreading rumors on the Internet as Beijing tightens its control over the use of instant messaging services.

The four, about whom no details have been released, could face defamation charges, which under Chinese law are leveled at those responsible for posting messages deemed to be "rumors" and that are viewed by more than 5,000 users or forwarded more than 500 times.

Those found guilty of such charges can face up to three years in prison and a loss of political rights.

As well as the four arrests, 81 others have been warned or detained for similar, though lighter, offenses, police said yesterday.

All of the people questioned used social network services to "fabricate and spread rumors, or forward rumors that were published on foreign websites," they said.

These include predictions of an earthquake in Beijing, within the next two to six days, and reports of gunshots being heard to the west of the city.

Meanwhile, 16 websites have been punished for "weak safety management," police said.

On Thursday, the government introduced new rules that require users of instant messaging services to register with their real names, in a bid to make people more responsible for the content they post into cyberspace.

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