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Woman Asks About Murder Online, Arrested for Starting Rumor

Political cartoon depicting a man being grabbed by authorities for speech online that "disturbs public order".
Words on rocket: "Disturbing public order"
Political cartoon depicting a man being grabbed by authorities for speech online that "disturbs public order".
Words on rocket: “Disturbing public order”

From NetEase:

Hebei Police Explains Reason for “Woman Asks If There Was a Murder” Arrest

China News Service September 1 report – In response to the matter of a Hebei province Qinghe county woman posting online “I heard a murder happened in Louzhuang, does anyone know the facts [of what happened]?” and being administratively detained for it, the Qinghe county Public Security Bureau Political Office Head Hou Xingjun claimed on the 1st that at present, rumor-starting netizen Zhao X (female, 20 years old) has already been administratively detained for 5 days by police in accordance with the law. At the same time, he reminds the masses of netizens not to easily trust and spread internet rumors without evidence, and if it disturbs public order, police will handle it in accordance with the law.

August 28th, media reports claimed that Heibei province Qinghe county police authorities discovered a message posted by a netizen named “宁05021” on the Baidu Post Bar [discussion forum] “Qinghe Bar” [subforum] claiming: “I heard a murder happened in Louzhuang, does anyone know the facts [of what happened]?” This message was quickly clicked on [viewed] about 1000 times and was spread by some of people in the county, seriously disturbing society’s public order, inciting panic among the people. Police quickly confirmed the identity of the rumor-started and placed her in administrative detention.

After this matter was reported, it attracted the attention of many netizens, with many netizens expressing that one must be careful when posting on the internet in the future and not rashly forward/spread information without a basis/evidence. At the same time, there were also netizens who believe the police overreacted, that it is a bit of an injustice to arrest something for simply making a post.

In regards to this, Hou Xingjun said on the evening of August 26 that Qinghe county Public Security Bureau police officers discovered netizen “宁05021” had made a post “I heard a murder happened in Louzhuang, does anyone know the facts [of what happened]?” on the local discussion forum, that the message was quickly viewed around 1000 times, inciting many many netizens who don’t know the facts to engage in conjecture, and at the same time, the matter was spread amongst the county’s people, inciting a public panic.

After police discovered the message, it was verified as an internet rumor, the rumor having severely disturb the local public order, causing panic amongst the masses, and so the police acted in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations in administratively detaining the rumor-starting netizen Zhao X (female, 20 years old) for 5 days. (End)

(Original title: Woman Who Asked “Was There a Murder” on Discussion Forum Arrested, Police Explain It Was Lawfully Handled)

Comments from NetEase:

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网易广西贵港市手机网友 ip:121.31.*.*:

That woman makes a post and I feel absolutely nothing. Why don’t you as the Public Security Bureau just respond? Instead, what you people did is what makes me feel panic.

屠龙术 [网易吉林省长春市网友]:

If we say violence and lies are two legs, when lies already lose their effectiveness, when lies themselves need violence to maintain them, it means one leg is already broken, foretelling that it is not long until the final collapse happens.

网易河北省保定市手机网友 ip:211.143.*.*:

I heard a murder happened abroad, does anyone know the facts [of what happened]?

网易俄罗斯手机网友 ip:83.149.*.*:

This action of the police is what really incites panic amongst the people!

屠龙术 [网易吉林省长春市网友]:

Don’t ask, don’t tell, pretending to be deaf and mute is the safest.

网易福建省厦门市手机网友 ip:27.154.*.*:

I heard that Tianyi is a minor, does anyone know?

孤啸长天 [网易天津市手机网友]:

I heard Tianjin is about to rain…does anyone know if it’s true?

网易广东省深圳市手机网友 ip:27.46.*.*:

I heard the United States is going to attack Syria, is it true?

网易山东省青岛市手机网友 io:112.224.*.*):

Does China have corrupt officials? I say no!

丫ellow [网易广东省广州市天河区手机网友]: (responding to above)

[The person above] is starting a rumor!

网易湖北省咸宁市手机网友 ip:27.24.*.*:

Those who don’t know may not ask, and those who do know also may not tell.

悠惯部门 [网易上海市网友]:

The more rumors a place has just proves that place’s government is most lacking in public credibility.

191185660 [网易日本手机网友]:

NetEase should close the comments, otherwise everyone posting comments will be arrested!

网易贵州省遵义市手机网友 ip:114.139.*.*:

The police are all fucking eating shit [good for nothing]. With so many people guilty of murder, rapes, robberies, and corruption remaining free and not arrested, but when someone simply asks a question looking for confirmation, you’re TM fucking faster than a rocket. Bastards.

网易广东省广州市手机网友 ip:183.4.*.*:

If I were to curse you saying “fuck your mother” but end up not going to fuck [your mother], does that count as starting a rumor? Will you arrest me?

网易广东省深圳市手机网友 ip:116.24.*.*:

How does someone asking a question become starting a rumor?!

网易陕西省西安市网友 [xklbh]:

Strongly demand that the person be released/freed! If today they can arbitrarily arrest so-called rumor-mongers, tomorrow they’ll be able to arbitrarily arrest people who tell the truth! It could be you, me, or others! No one can escape! Defend freedom of speech, when it comes to our living environment, every person should be concerned, everyone should speak out! If today we choose silence, those who suffer disaster tomorrow may be ourselves! [This comment was copied and pasted by multiple commenters.]

Image: The People’s Daily

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

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