China blacks out online information sites to curb alleged Internet rumors of coup

BEIJING — Numerous Web sites remained shut down Sunday as the communist government sought to penalize popular social media sites for circulating rumors of a coup.

State-run Xinhua News Agency said Beijing police questioned and admonished an unspecified number of Internet users and detained six people for “fabricating or spreading” online rumors. The government shut down 16 Websites including two Twitterlike services that have more than 250 million users.

The microblogging services — known as weibo in Chinese — Sina and Tencent were disabled so that their comment functions could “clean up” rumors that included talk of “military vehicles entering Beijing and something wrong going on in Beijing,” the state Internet Information Office told Xinhua.

Twitter, like Facebook and YouTube, is banned because the Chinese government wanted more control over the services.

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