China is punishing people for spreading “rumors” about it online

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Talking about China’s stock market plunge or the deadly explosions that recently hit Tianjin are apparently a punishable offense in China. Nearly 200 people have already been punished by Chinese authorities for spreading “rumors” about the country online which caused panic, misled the public and resulted in disorders in stock market or society.”

Chinese police have “punished” 197 people for spreading what authorities call “rumours” about China online, including comments regarding the country’s recent stock market plunge and the Tianjin explosions. The Xinhua new agency cited the Ministry of Public Security, reporting that 165 accounts had been closed down in relation to the violations, which “caused panic, misled the public and resulted in disorders in stock market or society.” Besides the deleted accounts, it appears that journalists are also being targeted in the police-led rumour sweep. State media reports that Wang Xiaolu, a journalist with Caijing magazine, was detained for his reports on China’s stock market woes. Wang has reportedly “confessed” to spreading false information based on “hearsay” and making “subjective guesses” in his report.

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