Chinese authorities are said to have punished 197 people for spreading rumors online about the recent stock market crash and fatal explosions in Tianjin, BBC reported.
A journalist and some stock market officials were among those arrested, the report said, citing Chinese state media.
The journalist, a person named Wang Xiaolu, is accused of “spreading fake information” about the market slump.
Wang confessed that he “wrote fake report on Chinese stock market based on hearsay and his own subjective guesses without conducting due verifications”, Xinhua news agency was quoted as saying.
According to UK’s Financial Times, Beijing has decided to abandon attempts to boost the stock market and instead step up efforts to punish people suspected of “destabilizing the market”.
In 2013 Chinese authorities introduced a possible three-year sentence for spreading rumors. The sentence could apply to anyone who posted a rumor that is reposted 500 times or viewed 5,000 times.
In the latest crackdown, some people were also punished for spreading “seditious rumors” related to Beijing’s upcoming commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
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