China detains nine for spreading rumours about the military

BEIJING - Chinese authorities have detained nine people for spreading rumours 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 rumours" on the Internet, the People's Liberation Army Daily said.

They used Chinese microblogs and mobile messaging apps to"spread military-related rumours, 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 "demonised 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 rumours 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 defence ministry said authorities had detained 10 people for spreading rumours 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 rumour-spreading shows the Communist Party's growing determination to control information about alleged official misbehaviour, to avert triggering public dissatisfaction.