China does it again with crack down on web rumours

The Chinese government came good this week on its promise to come down hard on anyone it suspects of spreading ‘harmful’ rumours on the world wide web.

It’s yet another example of the increasingly uncompromising stance adopted by China in the face of what it sees as a huge threat to the Communist Party’s control and power – social media.

Where it will end no-one knows, but as high profile politicians such as William Hague and Joe Biden said at the recent London Conference on Cyberspace I reported from, any country deliberately blocking the free flow of information in such a way will eventually come unstuck.

Famous for its hard-line approach to internet expression and the free flow of expression, the authorities had already forced over 30 major technology companies in the country, including Baidu, Lenovo and China Telecom to agree to tighter censorship to control the spread of rumours.

China Daily reported this week that two men had been arrested in Changsha, Hunan after suggesting that a huge police escort had been spotted guarding a wedding in the city last week. The authorities denied this, and didn’t take kindly to the clip of the wedding escort which the men posted online.

They were apparently detained for four days.

Things are likely to get worse than they get better for the people of China, and for businesses trying to navigate local laws as well as the various cultural roadblocks in their way, it seems that a local partner is still a must-have for success.


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