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Tuesday, May 16, 2000, updated at 14:16(GMT+8)

Internet Site Closed, Fined for 'Spreading Rumours'

Local authorities have shut down a Wuhan-based website, China Finance Information Network, for 15 days and fined it 15,000 yuan (US$1,807) for picking up what they said was a false report from a Hong Kong newspaper that accused a Hubei vice-governor of corruption.

The Wuhan Public Security Bureau said its investigation concluded that the story was not true and libeled the official.

The security bureau posted its announcement on China Finance's homepage. The website was being punished for "spreading rumours," the security bureau said.

Officials with the website, which specializes in posting economic and financial news, declined to comment. The story they picked up claimed that a Hubei vice-governor was accepting graft from a local firm in the form of stock options.

China Finance's shutdown began on Saturday and ends on May 28.

In the wake of the action against China Finance, Wang Qingcun, head of the recently established Internet News Administrative Bureau of the State Council Information Office, announced that a regulation on Internet news was expected to be issued by the end of next month.

Wang said on Sunday in Shanghai that the regulation will set specific guidelines for websites on what news stories should be picked up.

Sources with the State Council Information Office said the regulation is aimed at ending the "chaos" on the Internet, such as pornography and unsubstantiated rumours.

Chen Tong, chief web content officer of, one of China's largest Internet portals, said: "The shutdown (of China Finance) is necessary to rectify the sector so that more websites will be encouraged to conduct their business by strictly following the laws and regulations.

"Some websites are doing everything they can to attract more page viewers, even if they know the story might be untrue or should be verified before publication."

By the end of last year, the number of registered websites in China stood at 48,695, of which more than 700 specialized in providing news, Wang said.

Presently, websites are not allowed to employ their own reporters or write stories. News from major Chinese websites rely on picking up stories from the traditional domestic media, such as the government-funded Xinhua News Service and People's Daily, on the basis of co-operative agreements.

In This Section

Local authorities have shut down a Wuhan-based website for 15 days and fined it 15,000 yuan (US$1,807) for picking up what they said was a false report from a Hong Kong newspaper.

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