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Five held for quake rumors

[ 2010-04-28 11:33]     字号 [] [] []  
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At least five suspects have been detained nationwide for allegedly spreading the latest string of rumors about earthquakes and causing public panic, police said.

The latest detainee is a 25-year-old woman, surnamed Ding, in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province. She was held on Monday for spreading online rumors about a destructive quake that will hit the city on June 13.

The woman is being investigated for disturbing public order, Nanjing police told Xinhua on Tuesday.

On Sunday night, police found an online post claiming that a 7 to 8 magnitude quake will hit Nanjing on June 13 and warning the public to brace themselves for the disaster.

After investigations, police identified Ding, who runs a photography studio in Nanjing, as the person behind the online rumor.

Ding said a post on her friend's blog about quake predictions in Nanjing were a reminder of the scenes of destruction in the Hollywood blockbuster 2012, as well as the real 7.1 magnitude quake that hit Yushu of Qinghai province on April 14, Xinhua reported.

A total of 2,220 people were killed in the quake, with more than 80 others missing.

Out of fear, Ding pasted her friend's post onto leading Chinese social network Xicihutong and it immediately raised public concern, Xinhua reported.

Authorities said the rumor was identical to earlier earthquake rumors in Shaanxi province.

Ding will remain in custody for at least three days, local police said.

Two high school students in Xianyang, Shaanxi, were also detained for spreading similar quake rumors. To attract online attention, they allegedly said Xingping in Shaanxi will be hit by a destructive quake on June 13, followed by more than 600 aftershocks, the Beijing Times reported over the weekend.

Similarly, two other students in Foshan of Guangdong province were reportedly held for allegedly spreading quake rumors in the city. The local quake administration has refuted the rumors since April 24 through websites and text messages.

Accurate earthquake predictions are still impossible and any forecast about quakes are groundless, said Chen Xuezhong, head of the Institute of Geophysics with the China Earthquake Administration.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Five held for quake rumors

Five held for quake rumors

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China daily for one year.