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China cracks down on Internet after coup rumours

Published: March 31, 2012
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Source: Raw Story

China has shut down websites, made a string of arrests and punished two popular microblogs after rumours of a coup linked to a major scandal that brought down a top politician.

Authorities closed 16 websites for spreading rumours of “military vehicles entering Beijing and something wrong going on in Beijing”, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the state Internet information office.

Police arrested six people, while the country’s two most popular microblogs, run by Sina.com and Tencent, said they would stop users from posting comments to other people’s posts until Tuesday.

The crackdown follows a surge in unsubstantiated online rumours about a coup led by security chief Zhou Yongkang, following the March dismissal of rising political star Bo Xilai.

Analysts say the political drama has exposed divisions in the ruling Communist Party as it prepares for a key leadership transition later this year.

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