“The police can designate anything that’s not to their liking a rumour and arrest the person who posted it”
This new law is a real threat to freedom of expression. Anyone can quickly be retweeted 5,000 times in China! In addition, the definition of a rumour is up to the police’s interpretation. Nothing’s stopping them from calling an online commentary that’s not to their liking a rumour, and arrest the person who posted it.If you ask me, several arrests carried out recently as part of this campaign have been unfair. For example, a woman posted a message on Weibo saying 16 people died in a road accident. Since the official death toll was 10 dead, she was arrested and jailed for “spreading rumours”. Someone else asked on Weibo: “I heard people talking about a murder in Louzhuang. Anyone know what happened?” And she was arrested, too.This isn’t the first law aimed at repressing Internet users. Some have already been arrested for “insulting the idols of the revolution”. A Weibo user was detained for a week at the end of August for doing this after he wrote that the “Five Heroes on Langya Mountain” – soldiers said to have died during the war with Japan and who are considered to be heroes – were in fact deserters who were oppressing villagers.