Joe Littrell forwarded an interesting story
from the People's Daily Online. It reports that police in China have arrested or warned 60 people this year for spreading rumors or threats through text messages and the internet. Wow. If spreading urban legends was a crime here in America, just imagine how many people would be in jail.
Some of the messages that rumormongers circulated:
On July 11, a text message began circulating in Jiangsu, claiming victims of full-blown AIDS were spreading the disease by using toothpicks at local restaurants and returning them to the containers on tables. The message warned recipients against using toothpicks in Jiangsu. The police traced the rumor to two businessmen surnamed Du and Cao through Du''s cellphone.
an Internet user known as Laoshi Heshang (Honest Monk) on July 31 posted a story with the Taiwuliao portal, based in Taizhou, Jiangsu, about police allegedly chasing a man and his pillion passenger son on a motorbike through the streets of Jingjiang city. The man had failed to stop as required by police after he was seen not wearing a helmet. The bike crashed and the son, who had been enrolled at prestigious Qinghua University, was killed. The posting caused outrage against the police, who were obliged to contact all six Jingjiang students who had been enrolled at Qinghua University this summer to confirm the story was a hoax.
Personally, I think the real criminals are not the ones who start these rumors, but the people who feel compelled to forward along every idiotic rumor that lands in their inbox.