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China Imposes Crackdown on Websites

April 2, 2012 by rochelle in World


More than a dozen websites were closed down by Chinese authorities after these sites are believed to spread rumors of a coup in Beijing. The crackdown included shutting down two social networking sites and the arrest of six people.

The State Internet Information Office implemented the web crackdown. It is the government agency in charge of monitoring and policing Internet activities.

The crackdown reflects the government’s uneasiness of its citizens’ increasing use of the web to discuss political matters. It is also a way to prevent rumors from getting blown out of proportion.

The detained people have not been identified. The closed websites had as many as 300 million active users. Sina Corporation and Tencent Holdings, owners of websites similar to social networking site Twitter, also announced that the comment sections would be disabled temporarily to clean them up.

China is experiencing one of its worst political crises. The punishments arose after rumors spread about military vehicles entering China’s capital Beijing.

These rumors, meanwhile, stemmed from the termination of Bo Xilai two weeks ago. Xilai revealed leadership issues of the Communist Party, a topic that is not usually shared outside the group.

Before Xilai’s termination, a top aide from the party escaped and fled to a US consulate. The aide wanted to seek an asylum status, a move that violates the ruling party’s rules.

Xilai is believed to being groomed for a senior leadership role in the party. The job is highly sought and is the center of intense bargaining.

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