Chinese sites shut, microblogs suspend comments over 'rumors'

Online chatter of military activity in Beijing led to authorities shuttering 16 Web sites, detaining six people, and temporarily suspending comments on two microblogging sites.

Chinese authorities last week shut down 16 Web sites and detained six people accused of spreading "rumors about military" activities in the country's capital, amid a Web crackdown which also led to comments on microblogs being temporarily suspended.

State news media Xinhua reported Friday that the State Internet Information Office (SIIO) and Beijing police announced the six detained were responsible for "fabricating or disseminating online rumors [through microblogs]...of military vehicles entering Beijing and something wrong going on in Beijing". The Web sites included, and

The rumors caused "a very bad influence on the public" and the sites were closed in accordance with local laws for failing to stop the spread of rumors, said the SIIO spokesperson.

Xinhua also reported on Saturday that two Chinese microblogging sites, Sina's and Tencent's, suspended their comment functions after being "criticized and punished accordingly" by Internet information administration authorities in Beijing and Guangdong for allowing the rumors to spread. The suspension period, stretching Mar. 31 and to Apr. 3, was issued so the sites could "clean up rumors and other illegal information", according to the report.

China's efforts to regulate online information and Web sites is not new. Last December, the government announced a real-name user registration rule on microblog accounts in Beijing, a policy which has since been extended to other Chinese cities, and went into effect last month.


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