Chinese Arrest Creators of Urban Legends

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.

Law/Police/Crime Urban Legends

Posted on Wed Aug 22, 2007


You really can't imagine any of the examples cited leading to legal action in the states? I can imagine the allegations about the police leading to (at the least) action for wasting police time. As to the third example cited in the article - of a disgruntled teacher spreading rumours of a massacre at his school in order to get back at bosses...? These days that'd probably lead to prosecution for terrorism or something... 😊
Posted by outeast  on  Wed Aug 22, 2007  at  02:12 AM
Things like the AIDs toothpicks could actually cause a problem for authorities with people wasting police time trying to get the story confirmed, and then believing it when its denied.

Inciting mass hysteria is a pretty serious crime 😜
Posted by Renquist  on  Wed Aug 22, 2007  at  04:44 AM
Aids toothpicks, cardboard dumplings, and now:;_ylt=AiTypkGw0rTuYWjZrMAXrums0NUE for your perusal. BTW, I think that anyone who posts untruths, exagerations and falsehoods on the internet should be well hung. I do, and I am, and that's the truth. Sorta
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Wed Aug 22, 2007  at  08:00 AM
On an entirely different subject, if everyone would just forward this comment to ten people you know, Bill Gates will give you ONE BILLION DOLLARS!!!

Yes, you can--

[Sound of door being kicked in, beating, and body being dragged to Gitmo]
Posted by Mark  on  Wed Aug 22, 2007  at  09:15 AM
If you ever go there, Alex, you
Posted by Unfairly Balanced  on  Wed Aug 22, 2007  at  11:19 AM
On another website I visit daily there was the story of a Finnish boy who was prosecuted and fined for a YouTube video. The video showed the boy's teacher singing kareoke (or however that crappy thing is spelled) at school and said it was a mental paitent singing at a mental hospital. If posting rumors on the internet becomes a crime, how much jail time are you looking at Alex, for all the rumors and urban rumors you've got here?
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Sat Aug 25, 2007  at  11:39 PM
Hmmmmm . . . Considering the Chinese have declared that use of the Internet as a wepaon is a legitimate theatre of war, and that most people believe a Chinese hacker started the Gerbil rumoour when Richard Gere started talking about a Free Tibet . . . this sounds more like a recruitment drive than actual legal deal.

The cyber-equivalent of "It Takes A Thief" perhaps? Though a Chinese Robert Wagner boggles the mind . . .
Posted by D F Stuckey  on  Sat Oct 06, 2007  at  06:48 AM
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