BEIJING–A Chinese investigative journalist who has accused officials of corruption has been arrested, his lawyer said on Oct. 10, becoming the latest in a series of government critics to be swept up in Beijing’s crackdown on rumors.
Liu Hu, a reporter with the Guangzhou-based newspaper New Express, was arrested on a charge of defamation on Sept. 30, said his lawyer, Zhou Ze. Liu had been detained in late August in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing on suspicion of “fabricating and spreading rumors.”
China’s crackdown on online “rumor-mongering,” widely seen as a tool to halt criticism of the ruling Communist Party, has chilled political discourse, with high-profile bloggers saying they have reined in sensitive postings for fear of detention.
Lawyers and activists called the crackdown a significant, if crude, expansion of powers to police the Internet and a blow to those who rely on microblogs to disseminate information that is often not monitored as strictly as traditional media.