• Chinese paramilitary police officers patrol Tiananmen Square.

Chinese paramilitary police officers patrol Tiananmen Square. (Photo : Getty Images)

Two Internet users were detained by the Beijing police last Saturday on the suspicion of fabricating and spreading false rumors about a terrorist attack that will happen near the Tiananmen Square.

The two netizen's surnames are Wang and Zhan. Beijing police stated on their official Weibo account that both of them fabricated and spread stories online regarding a traffic accident that has occurred near the National Museum of China. The police also said that both already confessed to the crime.

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According to the police, what really happened is that there is a car that rolled over while traveling along Chang'an Avenue near the north side of the National Museum of China. They said that the accident is human error as well as water on the road, and is still for further investigation. No terrorist attack has happened.

Wang Sixin, a law professor at the Communication University of China, said: "Tiananmen Square is the heart of our country, so anything that happens there, no matter how trivial, will be the topic of rumors."

If a rumor like this goes viral, it can cause great social influences. Wang said that the authorities should crack down on any false information right at the start and punish the ones responsible.

As stated on a draft regulation issued by the Cyberspace Administration of China, only qualified media organizations are allowed to post news such as reports/commentaries on politics, the economy, military as well as the diplomacy status of the country.

Wang commented on this and said that China is regulating new media the same way as traditional media, in which politics-related topics have long been carefully monitored. He suggested that authorities should be proactive with regards to updating official information as soon as possible so that the rumor will be put to rest.

Sina Weibo and China's Ministry of Public Security jointly launched an online platform so that netizens can tip any false online information. It will allow internet users to provide website links as well as to upload screenshots of the alleged false information. The website will release monthly reports to the public for rumor awareness.