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China detains man for spreading 'panic' with bird flu rumours

Published on Feb 12, 2014 7:36 PM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Police in central China have detained a man who spread "panic" with a graphic rumour about the arrival of bird flu in his home province, state media reported on Wednesday.

Wild rumours abound on Chinese social media sites, driven in part by a broad belief that the government always seeks to cover up bad news and that state media are untrustworthy.

The man detained by authorities, who was identified only by his surname, Zhou, and hails from the central province of Hubei, posted the rumour over the weekend via the popular mobile messaging platform Wechat, the official Xinhua news agency said.

"The post was spread widely among netizens and aroused panic among the public," it said, adding that Hubei's health officials had dismissed the rumour as untrue, since the province had yet to report human cases of the H7N9 bird flu virus.

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