Websites punished for spreading rumours about China blasts

Beijing, Aug 16 (IANS) China’s internet regulator shut down and revoked licenses of some websites, accusing them of spreading online rumours after massive explosions at a warehouse in China’s Tianjin city left 112 people dead.

In a statement released on late Saturday, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) accused 50 websites of creating panic by publishing unverified information or letting users spread baseless rumours, reported Xinhua news agency.

The information circulated on the websites included headlines such as: “the blasts killed at least 1,000 people”, “shopping malls in Tianjin looted” and “leadership change in Tianjin government”.

The CAC said such rumours caused negative influences. It shut down and revoked licenses of 18 websites, and suspended operation of another 32 websites.

The CAC said it would take a zero-tolerance attitude towards websites spreading rumours after major disasters.

Some 95 people, including 85 fire-fighters, went missing after Wednesday’s massive blasts.

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