News / Asia

2 Chinese Bloggers Arrested in Crackdown on Rumors

FILE - Chinese are seen working on computer work stations. Called 'bo ke' in Chinese, blogs are hugely popular, especially among the young, despite strict rules on content enforced by the government.
FILE - Chinese are seen working on computer work stations. Called 'bo ke' in Chinese, blogs are hugely popular, especially among the young, despite strict rules on content enforced by the government.
Reuters
Police in China have arrested an influential blogger and are holding a cartoonist in a widening crackdown on online “rumor-mongering”, friends and a lawyer for one of them said on Thursday.

Hundreds of people have been detained since August, say Chinese media and rights groups, as the government has stepped up its campaign to banish rumors. Most have been released, but some are still being held on criminal charges.
 
The latest moves targeting the bloggers appear to suggest the new government, led by President Xi Jinping, is expanding its crackdown on dissent, although some critics have warned the move could backfire on Communist Party leaders.
 
“The use of these dictatorship tools to combat the criticism and grievances within civil society could be counterproductive,” said Zhang Lifan, a historian, adding that it could fuel mistrust. “It may not be beneficial for maintaining the regime.”
 
Dong Rubin, 51, who runs an Internet consulting company, has been arrested in southwestern Kunming on “suspicion of falsely declaring the capital in his company's registration”, state news agency Xinhua said late on Wednesday.
 
Dong was also suspected of illegal business operations and the crime of “creating disturbances”, Xinhua added.
 
Dong, who was previously invited by officials in southern Nanjing to speak about being an “online opinion leader”, is well known for participating in a 2009 online probe into the sudden death of a man in a detention house in Yunnan province.
 
State broadcaster CCTV showed images of Dong admitting to “exaggeration and selectively publishing information” to benefit clients. In September, state media also aired a confession by Chinese-American venture capitalist, Charles Xue, one of China's best known online commentators.
 
Dong's lawyer, Yang Mingkua, told Reuters by telephone it was not convenient for him to be interviewed, but referred to a legal opinion published on his microblog.
 
“When the air is filled with voices that are unharmonious, that is not a sign of weakness, but a symbol of strength,” Yang wrote on the microblog in September, describing Dong's case. “The freedom to speak and criticize is a citizen's right.”
 
Yang said Dong believed he was “fundamentally innocent” in his actions on the Internet.
 
In Beijing, the capital, cartoonist Wang Liming was taken into custody at midnight on Wednesday and has not yet been freed, his friend, Wu Gan, told Reuters by telephone.
 
Wu said police told Wang's girlfriend they summoned him for forwarding a microblog post about a stranded mother holding a baby who had starved to death in the flood-hit eastern city of Yuyao.
 
“Suppression of this kind by the Chinese government is of no use,” Wu said. “Rumors arise because there's no freedom to communicate on the Internet. Arresting people will not solve the problem because the problem does not lie with the people, but with the government.”
 
The detentions come slightly over a month after China unveiled tough measures to stop the spread of what it calls irresponsible rumors, threatening jail terms of three years if untrue online posts are widely reposted.
 
China's top court and prosecutor have said people will be charged with defamation if online rumors they create are visited by 5,000 internet users or reposted more than 500 times.
 
Liu Hu, a Chinese investigative journalist accused of corruption was arrested on a defamation charge late in September, his lawyer said last week.
 
The Internet clampdown reveals the insecurity of the leaders of the ruling Communist Party, said Bo Zhiyue, a professor of Chinese politics at the National University of Singapore.
 
“They are trying to send China back all the way to the Stone Age,” Bo said. “Where is the hope for political reform? Zero.”

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs