level 3
Along with current restrictions on internet social networks in China, this week the 人民日报 - People's Daily, the state-affiliated newspaper, highlighted the issue of 'internet rumors', making it a top news topic once more. The articles published, like the one here, did not provide new information, but rather went one step further in clarifying the Chinese state's concern with this issue. 

近几年来,随着手机短信[1]、即时通讯工具[2]和微博(Weibo microblog)等新兴媒体的崛起,网络谣言[3]也随之增加。借助现代信息技术[4]传播谣言,危害巨大。网络谣言影响社会稳定,给扰乱社会秩序[5],甚至损害国家形象。

在诸多网络谣言中,针对社会公众人物[6]、社会伦理道德[7]和社会基本制度的谣言,危害是最为广泛的。这类谣言从根本上破坏公众对政府、社会和政治制度[8]的信任,造成严重的思想混乱[9],影响群众对改革开放(China's reforms)和稳定发展[10]的信心。比如,有人曾在网络上造谣,说"军车进京"、"北京夜里响起了枪声[11]"。但实际上这是凭空捏造[12],相关责任人已被处罚。

这类谣言易造成群众的恐慌心理[13],影响社会稳定网络谣言之所以能够产生如此巨大的负面影响[14],既有技术因素,也有社会因素。就技术因素而言,以网络为代表的信息技术极大地促进了信息的流动[15]。就社会因素而言,网络谣言是利用部分网民通过对网络谣言的传播,宣泄[16]着自身的负面情绪。

对政府以及其他权威机构[17]而言,在发生谣言时,需要在第一时间对外发布信息。对公民个人而言,则需要增强社会责任感[18],不捏造事实。

In recent years, along with the fast development of cell-phone SMS, immediate communication tools, Weibo microblogging and other new media developments, internet rumors have also increased. The modern information technology which spreads rumors creates a huge risk. Internet rumors affect social stability, bringing disorder into the social order and even damaging the national image.

Many internet rumors are directed against public personage, social ethics and the fundamental social system. The harm is very extensive. This type of rumors basically destroys the public confidence in the governments, society and political system. This brings about severe confusion to one's thinking, influencing people's faith in the Chinese reforms and the stable development of China. For example, in the past a person has started an internet rumor by saying "military vehicles are entering Beijing", "gunshots were heard in Beijing in the night". People responsible for these fabrications were in fact already punished.

These kinds of rumors easily create panic in people's hearts and affect social stability. Therefore, internet rumors can produce an extremely negative effect. As long as there is a technological factor, there is also a social factor. Concerning the technological factor, internet is representative of how information technology promotes the circulation of news. Concerning the social factor, internet rumors take advantage of some internet users, as the propagation of internet rumors allows people to release out their negative mood.

From the angle of the government and other authoritative organizations, when rumors abrupt there is an immediate need to give an announcement.  Citizens on their behalf should strengthen their sense of social responsibility and not fabricate facts.


[1] 手机短信 shǒujī duǎnxìn - Cell phone SMS

[2] 通讯工具 tōngxùn gōngjù - Communication tools

[3] 网络谣言 wǎngluò yáoyán - Internet rumors

[4] 信息技术 xìnxījìshù - Information technology

[5] 社会秩序 shèhuì zhìxù - Social order

[6] 公众人物 gōngzhòng rénwù - Public personage

[7] 伦理道德 lúnlǐ dàodé - Ethics

[8] 政治制度 zhèngzhì zhìdù - Political system

[9] 思想混乱 sīxiǎng hùnluàn - Confused thinking

[10] 稳定发展 wěndìng fāzhǎn - Stable development

[11] 枪声 qiāng shēng - Gunshot

[12] 凭空捏造 píngkōngniēzào - Fabricate

[13] 恐慌心理 kǒnghuāng xīnlǐ - Panicked heart

[14] 负面影响 fùmiàn yǐngxiǎng - Negative effect

[15] 信息的流动 xìnxī de liúdòng - Circulation of news

[16] 宣泄 xuān xiè - Rant

[17] 权威机构 quánwēi jīgòu - Authoritative organizations

[18] 社会责任感 shèhuì zérèn gǎn - Sense of social responsibility



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