China detains 10 people for spreading rumours damaging military's image

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese authorities have detained 10 people for spreading rumours online damaging to the military's image, including the presence of gangs and infighting, the defence ministry said on Saturday.

The 10 were investigated by military and public security departments for spreading rumours on China's Internet forums and mobile messaging apps, the Ministry of National Defence said in a notice on its website.

"Using the Internet to create and spread rumours about the military is illegal and we will continue to investigate and crackdown on this. We hope that Internet users will abide by the law," the ministry said in the notice.

It said the 10 confessed to fabricating rumours and expressed remorse after they underwent "administrative detention", a term which normally applies to 15 days behind bars, and "education".

The ministry did not release their names, but gave the family names of three as Deng, Wang and Hao. It provided no further details.

The military has been one of the focuses of Chinese President Xi Jinping's sweeping crackdown on deep-seated corruption, with several senior officers caught up.

The investigations, however, show the Communist Party's growing determination to control information about alleged official misbehaviour, to avert triggering public dissatisfaction.

In April, Chinese authorities detained and fined a person for spreading rumours online that several high-ranking naval officers were being investigated for corruption, according to the website of the Communist Party's official People's Daily.

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