Chinese Microblog Site Targets Rumors After Warning from Party Leader

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Sina Weibo, the most popular Chinese microblog service, issued warnings to users last week that two reports posted on its site were false.

The company said users who posted the misleading information would have their accounts suspended for one month.

The unusual move came just days after Beijing Communist Party Secretary Liu Qi visited Sina and warned the company to tighten control over content.

Sina's announcement triggered an avalanche of online protest—partly directed at Chinese authorities.

In China, social media, like microblogs, have been used to talk about sensitive topics that would be censored by traditional media.

After the recent high-speed rail crash in Wenzhou, millions of microblog users criticized authorities for the crash. Now there are signs that authorities are starting to crack down on social media.

Besides the Beijing Party Secretary's highly publicized visit to Sina, state-run media have been publishing articles condemning the spread of so-called "rumors" on microblogs.