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Chinese Woman Arrested for Online Misrepresentation

October 10, 2007

Woman allegedly pretended to be raped, pregnant 15 year old girl
According to the Associated Press, police in central China have placed a 50 year old woman, charged with posing as a teenaged, pregnant rape victim on the Internet, under arrest.

The woman, known only by her surname, Chen, has not been formally charged with a crime, and officials say that her detainment period will expire in the days. When asked to comment on the case, Wang Bing an official with the propaganda department of the Tianqiao District Public Security Bureau in Jinan city, said “She fabricated rumors and misled the public.”

“We’re discussing further punishment,” Wang added. “Maybe re education through labor. ”

Chen reportedly told people during online chat sessions that she was a fifteen year old girl who had been raped by her stepfather and was now pregnant. Her online alias “Little Raindrop,” generated so much sympathy and so much website traffic that a version of the “Little Raindrop” story eventually spread throughout the Internet.

“Some warmhearted netizens posted the details of Little Raindrop’s story to the big Internet forums where it became a hot topic and got more than 300,000 hits,” says an online report from Jinan’s local Qi Lu Evening news Web site.

How Chinese officials were able to link Chen to her fictitious online alias was not known at press time. The Chinese government has been criticized recently by the U.N., European Union, and human rights groups, all of which have asked that China abolish the re education through labor system, since it allows authorities to imprison people without a trial.

In a report published on Wednesday by Reporters Without Borders and the China Human Rights Defenders organization, according to Reuters.com, the anonymous report “details the secret workings of a censorship machine that spans the information ministry, the State Council, or cabinet, the Communist Party’s propaganda department and the police.”

“Prior to 2005, the Beijing authorities had not really organized an Internet control system,” the report added.

Reuters reports that many Chinese Web sites receive up to five messages a day from “supervisory bodies,” who advise them as to the best way to handle “sensitive issues,” or, more bluntly, on the best way to reject or pull down certain controversial Web site content.

After a report in 2006 that the Taiwanese electronics firm Foxconn, was mistreating their workers, some Web site received messages that said “Do not disseminate reports about the Foxconn case so that is not exploited by those who want independence to advance their cause.”


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