Man confesses in first public trial in China's rumor crackdown: Xinhua

BEIJING Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:24am EDT

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BEIJING (Reuters) - A popular internet microblogger confessed in court to spreading rumors about the Chinese government, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday, in the first public trial since China began cracking down on online rumors last year.

Rights advocates say China's campaign to quash online rumors, which began last summer, is tantamount to crushing free expression. The government says the crackdown is necessary to preserve social stability.

Online rumors are particularly pervasive in China, where traditional media is heavily regulated by the government and public trust in the media is low.

Qin Zhihui invented a story that the Chinese government gave 200 million yuan ($32.5 million) in compensation to the family of a foreign passenger killed in a high-speed train crash in 2011, Xinhua said.

He posted the rumor on Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblog, and the story was shared widely by other microblog users, Xinhua said.

According to the Xinhua report, Qin also told false stories about a popular television starlet and other celebrities.

No comment was available from Qin and Xinhua gave no indication of any defense he raised in court. The trial is continuing, Xinhua said.

The ruling Communist Party's campaign to control online discourse threatens criminal penalties against those who spread rumors on microblogs that are reposted more than 500 times or seen by more than 5,000 users.

(Reporting By Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Paul Tait)

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Comments (1)
aunticcp wrote:
The Chinese Communist Party has more than a million of its comrades monitoring the internet because if it allowed its people to learn the truth concerning the millions of atrocities that it has committed since 1949, all the top leaders would either be executed or be put in prison.
The brutal Chinese Communist Party has murdered over fifty million of its own people since 1949, since 1999 it has been attempting the blood-thirsty genocide of the tens of millions of innocent Falun Gong who live in Mainland China. To this end, the heinous CCP is using torture, slavery, organ harvesting and murder. Because of corporate greed, these atrocities and millions of others have been kept from the Western people by the Western media. The weak United Nations even appointed the brutal CCP a seat on its Human Rights Council this year. Shameful. Thank you for your concern.

Apr 11, 2014 9:13am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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