The Chinese police have arrested six people and shut down 16 websites on the strange charge of spreading rumors of unusual military vehicle movements in Beijing.
The unusual vehicle movements might have been a hand-brake turn followed by a couple of doughnuts in Tiananmen Square which would not have been so much unusual as “wicked.”
Anyway, the reason that the Chinese government was upset about the reporting of the unusual movement of their military was because of the political downfall of one of the ruling Communist Party’s senior leaders.
On March 15, Bo Xilai was removed as party chief of the inland city of Chongqing after a scandal involving a senior aide. The world and its dog expected that he might not go quietly.
After Bo was sacked, popular microblogs were awash with speculation about a government coup and soaping under the armpits of rumour.
Sina and Tencent shut the comment functions on their popular microblogging sites from March 31 to April 3 to “clean up rumors and other illegal information spreading”.
It is not surprising, then, that someone ended up being arrested.