China sticks with hardline stance on online rumors

Country's government will continue to monitor Web and promises to punish those creating "fake information" after recent spate of censorship and taking down of Web sites, report says.

China will continue with its "hardline" stance toward the proliferation of online rumors even after removing more than 210,000 online posts and shutting down 42 Web sites since mid-March.

The China Daily reported on Friday that local authorities will remain vigilant in monitoring the Web to weed out online rumors and punish those creating "fake information", citing Liu Zhengrong, a senior official with the State Internet Information Office.

He noted that fake information and online rumors that spread through the Internet, particularly on microblogs, have "harmed social order and residents' daily lives".

"What we've done and will do is to make sure residents can know what they want to know, say what they think and supervise our management in a reliable and useful network environment," he added.

The official also disagreed that the Internet can self-police against these fake information, saying that people cannot distinguish truth from fiction and would require governments and Web site companies to take measures.

His comments come after a China-based non-governmental organization Internet Society of China (ISC) called on Web companies to show more "self-discipline" to help stamp out the spread of online rumors.