China launches social media purge to silence critics of Shanghai lockdown: claims it’s ‘false information’

The Chinese Communist Party’s public security department recently filed criminal charges against “25 rumor mongers and imposed administrative sanctions on 48 others” for promoting allegedly fake online accounts of the Party’s anti-epidemic measures during the ongoing Chinese coronavirus lockdown in Shanghai. , reported the state. global times reported on Wednesday.

Local Communist Party authorities in Shanghai said on May 17 that they had identified 46 people who allegedly “spread the false information first” and “punished” them according to Chinese law along with two other people who allegedly shared the information.

Users of Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat have alleged online that Communist Party officials in Shanghai overstepped their authority in several cases over the past month by attempting to carry out the extreme “zero tolerance” policy of the central government towards the Chinese coronavirus epidemic in the city. . When Chinese Internet users highlighted their alleged mistakes, Communist Party authorities winced and subsequently launched a crackdown on the activity.

The global times detailed a handful of accusations that have apparently landed some Chinese “netizens,” meaning Internet users, in trouble with the Communist Party in recent weeks, writing:

After receiving reports from netizens and checking, the rumors circulating on social media say that ‘French passports and residence cards were confiscated at the airport’, ‘the dismissal of an official in Huangpu district is related to his agreement with residents’ nucleic acid screening’, and ‘the express delivery from Jingdong from all over the country to Shanghai has been suspended’ are false information, local authorities said.

The Communist Party first launched an investigation into the disturbing online chatter on April 8, three days after Shanghai’s more than 25 million residents were forced to observe stay-at-home orders in a bid to contain the latest epidemic of the Chinese coronavirus in the city. . Shanghai’s total lockdown remained in place for the 43rd day in a row on May 18, although city officials said they plan to start easing the movement restriction on June 1.

The ongoing outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus in Shanghai, while reportedly abating, evokes a national resurgence of the disease across China. Millions of Beijing residents have been subjected to various degrees of movement restrictions since at least April 28, when the Associated Press reported that “residents of two housing complexes in Beijing’s Chaoyang district were ordered to stay inside and some clinics and businesses closed.”

The “zero tolerance” policy toward Chinese coronavirus outbreaks observed by China’s ruling Communist Party has seen Party officials shut down overseas residential compounds without notice in both Shanghai and Beijing over the past month.

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