By Cal Widdall
After rumours regarding an attempted coup in Beijing lead to restrictions on microblogging sites and arrests, Nanfang Daily (the same publication which ran a ‘news story’ on pictures of drunk foreign girls passed out) has called on the public to “bravely say no to rumours.”
China Daily ran the following excerpt:
A healthy and secure Internet environment would never permit the spreading of online rumors. Since the invention of the Internet, especially micro blogs, it has become increasingly easy for rumors to be uploaded and spread. Usually a rumor is started to damage the image and reputation of an individual or organization, but political rumors in particular can lead to social unrest and other serious consequences.
Therefore, the public must stand firm in the face of such rumors and stick to the right direction amid the country’s profound social changes and never let such rumors confuse them. Every citizen should voluntarily and bravely say no to rumors and in this way become guardians of a healthy online environment.
The appearance and promotion of micro blogs are an information revolution. In this era of new media, it is no longer the simple process of a rumor is generated, spreads and disappears, but like the old saying goes “rumors stop with the wise”.
Or, maybe rather than arresting its own citizens for simply commenting on events, and thereby further shrouding them with mystery, the government should release a statement. Just a thought.