BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese authorities have detained nine people for spreading rumors on the Internet that several military officers were involved in protests and for damaging the military’s image, the military’s official newspaper said on Friday.
The nine “fabricated and spread the rumors” on the Internet, the People’s Liberation Army Daily said.
They used Chinese microblogs and mobile messaging apps to “spread military-related rumors, slander military cadres and falsely accuse troops of being involved in ‘mass incidents’,” the newspaper added.
“Mass incidents” are a euphemism for protests.
Some of them also “demonized the military’s image”, it said.
The newspaper did identify the nine but gave the family names of three of them as Huang, Yuan and Song.
The people confessed to spreading rumors and had been sentenced to “administrative detention”, it said, a term which is normally up to 15 days behind bars. They also had to undergo “education”. It provided no further details.
Last month, the defense ministry said authorities had detained 10 people for spreading rumors online damaging to the military’s image, including the presence of gangs and infighting.
The military has been one of the focuses of President Xi Jinping’s sweeping crackdown on deep-seated corruption, with several senior officers caught up.
The punishment for the rumor-spreading shows the Communist Party’s growing determination to control information about alleged official misbehavior, to avert triggering public dissatisfaction.
Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Ben Blanchard, Robert Birsel