BEIJING, April 10 Three of China's largest
Internet companies have promised the government they will take
steps to banish online rumours, state media said on Tuesday, as
the ruling Communist Party fights jitters over a tricky
A dispatch by the official Xinhua news agency made no
mention of rumours of a foiled coup in Beijing that spread on
the Internet in past weeks, after the abrupt ousting of Bo
Xilai, a contender for a spot in the new central leadership to
be unveiled at a party congress later this year.
But the article was the latest in a series carried by state
media lambasting online rumours and those who spread them.
The March 15 ouster of Bo as party chief of the inland city
of Chongqing, linked to a scandal involving a senior aide, has
shaken the party ahead of the leadership changes.
After Bo was sacked, popular microblogs, including those run
by Sina Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd, were
awash with speculation about a coup.
Xinhua said that both companies, along with top search
engine Baidu Inc, would "resolutely support and
cooperate with relevant government departments in measures to
fight and clear up online rumours".
They would also "earnestly fulfil their responsibility to
society, follow the law, increase management of the Internet and
adopt effective measures" to guard against rumours.
While the coup rumours were unfounded, their spread and the
tightening of Internet controls and warnings to ignore such talk
have reflected worries about stability after Bo's fall.
Last week, China's top military newspaper told troops to
ignore online rumours.
And in late March, authorities shut 16 Chinese websites and
detained six people accused of spreading rumours about unusual
military movements and security in the capital.
The rumours fed on speculation about the ousting of Bo over
a month after his vice mayor, Wang Lijun, fled to a U.S.
consulate, triggering a scandal exposing accusations of
infighting and abuses of power.