China vows to punish posters of Internet rumors

BEIJING (AP) — China is renewing threats to punish people who post falsehoods on the Internet as the government tries to rein in a medium that has become a source of lively debate and criticism.

A spokesperson for the State Internet Information Office said in a statement released late Friday that Internet rumors were malignant tumors that harm social stability. The statement carried by the Xinhua News Agency calls on Internet users to abide by laws and stop spreading rumors.

Drawing the spokesperson’s particular ire are salacious postings on the popular Twitter-like Sina Weibo service that purported to be from a prostitute but were really done by a male editor.

Beyond that, social media sites Weibo are becoming a challenge for the authoritarian government.

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