China Government Punishes Social Media Sites For Coup Rumours

China is going into social media meltdown, by closing numerous sites as well as shutting down two of the country's biggest social networking sites - Tencent and Sina. The Chinese government has punished the online agencies as well as impose a suspension on comments posted on the sites following the circulation of online rumours about a coup mentioned last month.

Six people have been detained so far for the alleged spreading of rumours relating to one of the country's most disastrous political events, when Chinese politican Bo Xilai lost his post in March. According to reports, Chinese microblogging sites Tencent Weibo and Sina Weibo hinted at political instability within the Communist party following the deposition of Xilai - and in an attempt to stop the rumours from reaching the eyes and ears of the rest of the nation, the Government has imposed a crackdown on the sites.

Chinese news agency Xinhua reported the arrest of the six responsible for spreading the online rumours, while Tencent and Sina came under fire for failing to regulate appropriate content posted on their sites.

Xinhua also quoted a representative of the State Internet Information Office as saying that the sites had circulated reports of ‘‘military vehicles entering Beijing and something wrong going on in Beijing.''

Not only has this come at a bad time for China's political state of affairs, the party is also planning for the once-every-ten-years leadership shake-up due to take place later this year. With such a huge event waiting in the wings, China's clampdown on social media may take a more critical stance than ever in order to maintain as much impartiality as possible.

Source: New York Times