Chinese state media say Beijing police have detained a man for "seriously harming" China's image by providing "false information" to a foreign website.
The Xinhua news agency said Xiang Nanfu published "numerous false stories" on the U.S.-based Boxun dissident news website. It said the fabricated stories included claims the Chinese government harvested organs from living humans and buried people alive.
Xinhua said the 62-year-old's actions were "instigated and highly paid with U.S. dollars by a man surnamed Wei who was in charge of the website." Xiang, who was detained on May 3, is reported to have "confessed to his crimes and has repented."
Boxun often covers political scandals or human rights abuses that go unreported in China's government-controlled media. Its stories are sometimes sensational and anonymously written.
In a statement, Boxun said it "strongly protests" the detention of Xiang and denied paying a large amount of money to him. It said the case is "another clear sign of the rapid worsening of China's human rights."
As they do every year, Chinese police have been arresting activists and government critics ahead of the sensitive anniversary of the violent crackdown on democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.
Those detained include prominent rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and at least four others (Liu Di, Xu Yonyu, Hao Jian and Hu Shigen) who attended a recent Beijing seminar to commemorate the crackdown. A well-known journalist, Gao Yu, was also detained on charges of "leaking state secrets."
It has been almost 25 years since Chinese troops backed by tanks moved in to crush the student-led demonstration during the crackdown, which triggered worldwide condemnation.
China still considers the incident a "counterrevolutionary rebellion" and has never admitted any wrongdoing in its handling of the protests. It has never disclosed an official death toll or other key details on the crackdown, which is not discussed in state media.
Government censors also work hard to erase any reference to the incident in the country's very popular social media outlets.