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  52 netizens arrested for "spreading rumors", "sensationalizing conflicts", and "stirring up ethnic relations"
September 4, 2013
New York
Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Public Security Bureau held a press conference to announce the arrest of 52 netizens for "spreading rumors", "stirring up ethnic relations" and "sensationalizing conflicts".  
China has launched a major new “Strike Hard” campaign against Internet freedom in Southern (Inner) Mongolia. At least 52 more netizens have been arrested for “creating and spreading rumors”, according to a statement issued by the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Public Security Bureau on August 29, 2013.

The statement was published on the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Public Security Bureau official website under the heading “Inner Mongolian police arrested 52 criminal suspects who created and spread rumors via the Internet”. The statement calls the 52 netizens “criminal suspects” who are blamed for distributing more than 1200 pieces of information mainly of “Internet rumors and false reports of disaster, epidemic, and police emergency”.

“Upholding the principle of ‘strike, investigate and punish group by group’, this round of special operation further traces the clue, deepens the investigation, digs deeper to unearth organized rumor networks, accurately strikes the major targets, strikes hard and deters these criminal activities in order to protect the legal rights of the broad masses,” the statement concludes.

The Chinese authorities’ official mouthpiece Xinhua News provided additional details on the crackdown, reporting that of the 52 “criminal suspects” who were arrested, “21 were held in police administrative detention, 10 fined, 3 warned, 18 educated and reprimanded.”

“Some even sensationalized the conflicts that occurred during the development process in Inner Mongolia, deliberately stirring up ethnic relations, encouraging the masses to appeal for their interests in a radical way such as student strikes and protest demonstrations,” the Xinhua News article partially admits to the increasingly tense ethnic relations between the Mongolians and the Chinese in Southern Mongolia.

The article also reveals that this round of “Strike Hard” campaign is “implemented by the Autonomous Region Public Security Bureau in response to the request from the Autonomous Region leaders and the consolidated deployment by the Public Security Ministry”. The goal of this campaign is to “establish a long-term mechanism for suppressing Internet rumors”, according to the article.

Shortly before this major crackdown, similar events were also reported by the Chinese Public Security authorities in Southern Mongolia.

Mr. Yang Xiaoping, Deputy Director of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Public Security Bureau, told the Chinese official news agency China Broadcast Network on August 13, 2013 that 23 netizens were “punished” for “spreading rumors” related to “China’s plan to relocate earthquake evictees from Sichuan Province to Inner Mongolia”. Among the 23 netizens, “1 was held in criminal detention, 10 held in administrative detention, 2 fined, 1 given administrative warning, and 6 students educated and reprimanded”, according to Yang Xiaoping. “Most of these netizens disseminate these information out of ethnic sentiment,” Yang Xiaoming told the China Broadcast Network about the background of arrested Mongolian netizens, “however, through our investigation we found out that some netizens have ulterior motives and are trying to make some trouble to the society.”

On August 12, 2013, another official news agency, the Inner Mongolia Daily reported that the Public Security Bureau of Chifeng Municipality “punished” 15 netizens. Of them “8 were given administrative detention, 2 fined, 1 warned, and 4 educated and reprimanded for spreading rumor” on China’s “plan for relocating 1 million Chinese from the earthquake stricken province of Sichuan to Inner Mongolia”.

On May 19, 2013, Hulun-boir Daily, an official news agency of Hulun-boir Municipality, reported that the Municipality Public Security Bureau “punished” 14 netizens “in accordance with the law”. Of them, “4 were given administrative detention and 10 were educated and reprimanded” for spreading “rumors” such as “Mongolian herder of New Barag Right Banner committed suicide in desperate shortage of hay for his livestock”.

On April 26, 2013, Tongliao Daily, an official news agency of Tongliao Municipality, reported that 5 netizens were arrested and detained by the Tongliao Municipality Public Security Bureau for merely posting and disseminating information on the 5.3 degree earthquake of Horchin Left Rare Banner through the Internet.


Original statement published on the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Public Security Bureau official website (click to go to the link)


Inner Mongolia Daily says 15 were punished for "spreading rumor".



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