Police arrest 16-year-old boy in Gansu for spreading internet ‘rumours’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 September, 2013, 7:11pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 September, 2013, 7:14pm

A Gansu high school student was arrested by police for “causing trouble” after he posted comments over on his microblog - which were reposted over 500 times - on the conduct of police officers following the death of a local man.

This is the first known arrest in China by police following a recent government crackdown on people spreading “rumours” or misinformation online which are reposted over 500 times.

The 16-year-old boy’s arrest came after a row between police and the relatives of a man found dead on the streets of Zhangjiachuan Hui Autonomous County in Gansu last Thursday, the Beijing Times reported.

The Beijing Times reported that the boy, surnamed Yang, had falsely accused police officers of assaulting the dead man’s relatives in multiple postings on his blog. It was also reported that dead man’s relatives tried to stop police from carrying out an autopsy. Police later said the man had died after falling from a building.

Yang also upset the authorities by claiming on his blog posts that the deputy chief of ZhangJiachuan People’s Court owned a karaoke parlour, close to where the man had died. A police spokesman later said this was untrue. After Yang was arrested, the police deleted his blogs, the newspaper reported.

China’s Supreme Court and Supreme Procuratorate last week issued a statement saying spreading “rumours” or misinformation on the internet was now a criminal offence in China.

The court said that if these posts were forwarded more than 500 times, or viewed more than 5,000 times, they could result in a jail term of up to three years.

Police have also fined five other people for allegedly spreading “rumours” online.