Beijing, March 31 (IANS) Two major Chinese microblogging sites have suspended comment functions after they were "punished" for allowing rumours about a military coup in Beijing.
A total of 16 websites were shut down and six people detained in China Friday for "fabricating" and "disseminating" online rumours about the coup in the capital.
The State Internet Information Office and Beijing police said the websites were closed for spreading rumours of "military vehicles entering Beijing and something wrong going on in Beijing", that were fabricated by "some lawless people", Xinhua reported.
The six people were detained by Beijing police for allegedly fabricating and spreading the rumours, particularly through microblogging posts, officials said.
A spokesman with the information office said two popular microblogging sites -- weibo.com and t.qq.com -- have been "punished accordingly" by internet administration authorities in Beijing and Guangdong respectively.
The t.qq.com put up an online announcement Saturday that it has decided to suspend comment function from March 31 to April 3 to clean up the rumours and other illegal information spread through the microblog.
The weibo.com also released an announcement saying it would suspend comment function during the same period.
According to RIA Novosti, a spokesman for the information office said the rumours had a "a very bad influence on the public", and a number of people had been "admonished and educated".
Rumours of a possible coup attempt began to circulate on the internet after top leadership contender Bo Xilai was sacked as head of the mega city of Chongqing earlier this month.
Bo's dimissal came amid allegations that his former ally and police chief had tried to seek asylum at a US consulate.
State-owned People's Daily said in a commentary: "Internet rumours and lies packaged as 'facts' will turn conjecture into 'reality', stir up trouble online and disturb people's minds. If allowed to run amok, they will seriously disrupt social order, affect social stability and harm social integrity."
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