The so-called rumors were related to China’s continuing stock-market uncertainty, the recent industrial explosions in Tianjin and the military parade scheduled for Thursday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II
BEIJING — The Chinese Ministry of Public Security has punished at least 197 people in recent days for “spreading rumors” online, it said. Its announcement did not give details, but the accused have presumably been detained.
The so-called rumors were related to China’s unsettled stock market, the recent industrial explosions in Tianjin and the military parade scheduled for Thursday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, said Xinhua, the state-run news agency.
The moves indicate the political sensitivities that have been aggravated in recent weeks by several volatile issues, among which the most painful for Chinese leaders have been the slowing economy and the market collapse.
Months ago, President Xi Jinping and other senior Chinese officials called for the military parade as a bravado display of nationalism and scheduled Xi’s first state visit to the United States in September, but now both occasions are expected to be shadowed by the various crises that have shaken China this summer.
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One of the more prominent targets of the recent campaign has been a reporter for a respected business magazine, Caijing. The reporter, Wang Xiaolu, was compelled to make a confession on television in which he said he had written a “sensational” and “irresponsible” article on the stock market.
Wang wrote an article published July 20 by Caijing that said the China Securities Regulatory Commission was seeking to withdraw funds from the stock market. The police detained Wang on Aug. 25. Xinhua said that Wang’s July report had caused “abnormal fluctuations” in the stock market.
Along with Wang, several financial officials and executives were detained last week for contributing to the stock market’s gyrations and have been dealt with by “criminal compulsory measures,” according to Xinhua.
The Ministry of Public Security said that examples of recent offending online rumors included one that said 1,300 people had been killed by the Tianjin explosions and another that said a man had jumped to his death because of the plummeting stock market.
On Monday, officials in Tianjin said the explosions, set off by hazardous material being stored in warehouses near the port of Tianjin, had killed at least 158 people and resulted in the hospitalization of 356 others.