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Fake text messages spark concern

[ 2011-03-17 10:31]     字号 [] [] []  
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Fake text messages warning people that radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant had leaked beyond Japan have caused concern across Asia.

The messages, purportedly sent by the BBC, have been circulating since Monday in China, Singapore and the Philippines. They said the first wave of radiation would arrive in neighboring countries soon and warned people to take precautions against the possible ill effects of radiation.

The BBC has clarified that it issued no such message.

However, the fake alert caused alarm in the Philippines.

Some media reports said that workers and children were sent home as the rumor spread, prompting the Philippine government to issue an official denial and its justice secretary to warn that those behind the fake alerts could be prosecuted.

"There is no scientific and technical basis that a radioactive plume or nuclear fallout from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will hit ... the Philippines," the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute said.

Some schools in the northern Philippines sent their pupils home early on Monday.

Philippine Justice Minister Leila de Lima ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to trace the source of the hoax SMS messages, saying they were liable for crimes against public order.

Scientists and authorities in Singapore dismissed a text message circulating in the country warning about possible radioactive rain as a hoax.

The Singaporean National Environment Agency said that the country would not be affected by radioactive rain because the nuclear reactors in Japan were thousands of kilometers away, local media reported.

Chinese authorities have stepped up efforts to reassure citizens that the country faces no imminent danger from the radiation leaks affecting its neighbor.

Sources with China Mobile said they have sent more than 50,000 text messages to dismiss the rumor and Sina Microblog, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, has also put a clarification in its system announcement.


1. Who is getting fake text message warnings about radiation?

2. What are they about?

3. Who is sending them?


1. People in China, Singapore and the Philippines.

2. The messages say radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant had leaked beyond Japan.

3. They are purportedly sent by the BBC, but the BBC has denied issuing the message.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Fake text messages spark concern

About the broadcaster:

Fake text messages spark concern

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.