Chinese Man Arrested For Spreading Rumors Online
Posted on March 29, 2011
Freedom of speech can go too far as exhibited by a man in Zhejiang province, China, who has been sentenced to 10 days in jail and a fine of 500 yuan for his crime of spreading rumors online.
On March 15, Mr. Chen, a computer company worker, posted unfounded warnings that Japan’s nuclear reactor had contaminated the waters near eastern Shandong province.
Chen’s commentary urged citizens to stockpile salt, spread the word and refrain from consuming sea products for at least up to a year. In his own defense, he told police that he read about the contamination on the Internet and spread the word to everyone he knew without thinking about the repercussions.
To date, China is doing its part to check Japanese imports, particularly food, for signs of contamination, and so far none have been reported.
That old debate about freedom of speech and the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theater comes to mind.
Rights and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.
Chen’s friends and relatives may well have learned to take what he says with that age-old, proverbial grain of salt.