It's no secret that authorities in China aren't fans of online gossip, especially when it's designed to undermine politicians and officials. But they seem to be really clamping down on these rumors lately, with increasing reports of arrests and people being detained in the last month alone.
And the punishments meted out against these bloggers are pretty harsh, as South China Morning Post reports on how one guy living was arrested after a writing a Weibo post about an accident on a highway he had seen. The man was detained for five days simply because he posted, “Sixteen people died, including babies," and "Yet a local Communist Party chief didn’t allow us to take photos of the scene.”
Police justified that the arrest took place because the post was "against the truth," and that the accident had only killed ten people. Local authorities have since admitted that the punishment was too harsh following a public outcry.
And if you think this law against online rumor-mongering only applies in forums, think again. Even users of private messaging apps like WeChat are not safe from persecution, as Tech in Asia reports:
[If] police hold people to the letter of the law, almost anyone could be arrested for almost anything. Did you share a link to a news article that had an error or a misquote in it? You’re guilty of spreading rumors. Did you share a theory with a friend on WeChat that you don’t have ironclad evidence for? You’re guilty of spreading rumors. Did you say it’s going to rain tomorrow only to have the weather turn out to be sunny? You’re guilty of spreading rumors.
It's difficult to know exactly just how widespread these arrests
and investigations are since the information seems be leaking all over. And while China might not be the only country that have laws
designed to limit unfounded and potentially damaging rumors, it certainly is worrying to know how one misstep online can easily land you behind bars.
Believe it or not, there was a time that the vile act of smoking cigarettes was more of social achievement. But as science advanced and more research was put into the subject, there were discoveries that it did more harm than good. Today, cigarette smoking is condemned by many. Sure, most countries globally still allow the selling and circulation of cigarettes within their borders, but they have many rules on where to smoke. Read more
Watches are just as necessary today as they were back in 1812. Just ask anyone who’s been stuck in a room with no clocks and a dead cell phone. Because at the end of the day, while many things go out of style, a select few stick around for the long haul. Watches are one of them. Read more