China cracks down on earthquake rumors and fraud

Sunday, 13 August 2017

BEIJING – China’s Ministry of Public Security has been investigating crimes related to earthquake rumors online and charity fraud after a deadly earthquake struck Southwest China’s Sichuan province, the ministry said Saturday.

Rumors of earthquakes in different areas in China created and spread by several Internet users since the Sichuan earthquake have caused social panic and harmed social stability, according to the ministry.

The ministry has put four people under administrative detention for sending rumors via Wechat, a Chinese mobile instant messaging app with millions of users.

The ministry also launched an investigation into charity fraud that took advantage of people’s sympathy for the earthquake victims.

Internet users should not create, believe, or pass on rumors, said an official with the ministry.

The ministry welcomes reports of online rumors from the public.