China rejects fighter jet crash rumor, vows to guard online order

Updated: 2011-10-11 13:53


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BEIJING - The People's Liberation Army Air Force has denied rumors of a Chinese fighter jet crashing during a recent test flight in Northwest China's Shaanxi province, according to a post on the website of the flagship newspaper People's Daily.

"It is a completely fabricated report and a rumor," the post cited military sources as saying.

The rumor surfaced online after a microblog entry claimed that a J10B fighter jet recently crashed during a test flight in Shaanxi, causing the death of the pilot.

According to the People's Daily website, military sources confirmed their knowledge of the false online report, which has been found to have been originally fabricated and posted by a Beijing-based website editor surnamed Pei and later spread inappropriately by other media.

The website where Pei works has announced that it will reprimand him.

This came just days after a falsified "prostitute diary" microblog caught the attention of Chinese netizens.

Investigators found that a microblog user who had been telling "her" personal story as a 22-year-old prostitute turned out to be a 31-year-old man, who was actually a magazine editor in Hangzhou, the capital of East China's Zhejiang province.

Condemning online falsehood, a spokesperson with the State Internet Information Office under the State Council, China's Cabinet, called for a boycott on Internet-based rumors on September 30.

The popularity of microblog services is on the rise in China, a country which is home to the world's largest online population, or 500 million Internet users.

Along with conveniences provided by microblog services, there are also problems.

"The rapidness of information dissemination characterized by the Internet poses challenges to communicating information in a true and orderly manner," noted Li Mingru, an online commentator, referring to surging online rumors.

An influential way of preventing rumors from spreading is to tell the truth as soon as possible, Li said, adding that the military's quick response to the rumored jet crash proved effective.

Meanwhile, Li said that the rising popularity of the Internet requires a higher level of transparency in Chinese authorities' handling of information relevant to the public.