Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dozens Detained & Punished for Spreading Rumor of Gunshots in Beijing, Sina Weibo Censors "Fourth Ring Gun Sounds"

On August 10, 2014, China’s official news agency Xinhua published an article entitled “85 People Investigated for Fabricating Rumors Online, Suspected of Spreading Rumors Such as ‘Unexplained Gunshots Heard Again Inside Beijing’s Fourth Ring Road” (85人网上编谣传谣被查处 涉"北京西四环又现不明枪声"等谣言).  According to the article four people were detained on criminal charges, and 81 were detained, warned, or otherwise sanctioned under public security provisions.

This screenshot was taken on August 15, and shows that Sina Weibo was censoring search results for “Fourth Ring Gun Sounds” (四环 枪声).

That report followed another report by Xinhua entitled “Public Security Agencies Investigate 39 People for Fabricating and Spreading Rumors” (公安机关依法查处39名网上造谣者传谣者) on July 20 in which it reported:
On July 15 of this year, Beijing Internet user Mr. Ma and Hainan Internet user Mr. Pei fabricated and posted rumors on Sina Weibo such as “Will XXX be detained tomorrow morning? I just saw information that military restrictions have already been placed on flights between Beijing and Shanghai”; “There are significant delays at immigration points in Shanghai because they are detaining someone, and in order to prevent someone from getting away or resisting, they’ve shut down the airports in the name of military exercises.” These rumors were transmitted over the Internet, and caused a fair number of Internet users to pay attention and feel unsafe, and created a malicious influence. Public security agencies quickly launched an investigation, and in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, took Mr. Ma and Mr. Pei into criminal custody.

See also: Baidu Begins Censoring "Guo Boxiong"