China / Society

China convicts two online rumor-mongers

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-07-23 15:40

KUNMING - A court in Southwest China's Yunnan province handed down jail sentences on Wednesday to two people found guilty of fabricating and spreading online rumors for economic gain.

The court of Wuhua District in the provincial capital city of Kunming sentenced Dong Rubin to six years and six months in prison for illegal business operations, according to the court verdict.

Dong's conspirator, Hou Peng, received a three-year jail term with a three-year reprieve over the same charge, according to the verdict.

Dong and Hou were fined 350,000 yuan (about $56,000 dollars) and 50,000 yuan respectively, it said.

The court found that the defendants fabricated online posts at the request of clients from March 2011 to May 2013. Dong organized and participated in four crimes involving 345,000 yuan and Hou took part in three cases involving 255,000 yuan.

Dong, who uses the online name "Bianmin," was also convicted of "creating disturbances" as he posted fake information and comments that distorted facts concerning the Mekong River attack, in which 13 sailors were murdered in October 2011 by a Myanmar drug ring, in order to gain popularity.

The widely-circulated contents tarnished the image of the government and seriously disturbed the social order, said the verdict.

The court ruled that the defendants' allegations over the police's unlawful operations in handling the case lack factual and legal basis.

Dong said he would lodge an appeal.

Dong used to be a middle school teacher. He left the school after he was punished by police for smuggling and gambling. He had been employed by a newspaper and later a website.

He came to fame in 2007 by posting sensational articles on popular websites and was listed by a newspaper as one of the ten most famous netizens in Yunnan in 2008.

His arrest followed the punishment of several online rumor mongers, including Qin Zhihui, who was found to have created and spread false information about a 2011 bullet train accident and China's most famous Good Samaritan, Lei Feng.

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