Chinese Political Rumors, Party Redoubles Squelch Efforts

Controlling information is tightly controlled through intimidation and explicit controls saps government credibility and makes rumors spread more readily in turn creating ever more work for busy censors. For understanding PRC media control, read He Qinglian’s book — a free download Download He Qinglian’s Book on Media Control in China .

Rumors circulate within China and within Chinese-speaking communities outside China. Some exile websites outside China, such as and other discussion and information Chinese language websites are rich sources of rumor, unchecked news and opinion, gossip and wild speculation. To be fair, one can learn a lot about China by reading these websites (I like science fiction too, it expands the mind) but they must be approached cautiously, information bits there to be garnered, to be questioned and verified. No doubt some valuable information there but the lack of checking (sometimes I think exile writers still work based on the standards they learned at the official Xinhua Press Agency) and quick willingness to believe in communist deviltry in every single instance — often not considering the alternative explanation of incompetence or unreliable information — means that these sources need to be treated with caution. The Chinese Communist Party has the worry about unhealthful information, especially information in Chinese, be reimported into China through friends, travelers or the still somewhat VPN-permeable Bamboo Curtain or Great Red Firewall. So Party infiltration of media abroad and its United Front Work often concentrates on Chinese speaking communities in order to achieve its goal of ideological defense of the ancestral Chinese lands.

Not only China but many other countries also face the problem of disinformation, propaganda and fake news. See:

There are often Xi Jinping Rumors in news and social media. had a commentary about rumors in China. An illustration of the wheat one can find among the chaff of confusing bit and pieces of information.

  Why is Xi Jinping’s Sword Pointed at Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound Amidst the Storm of Political Rumors?


April 2019

by Zhang Jie 張傑, Doctor of Law

    China today has entered a society where falsehoods and truths are so mixed that it is difficult to distinguish between fact and rumor. It can be said that when falsehoods are true, they are also false. For example, Supreme Court Judge Wang Linqing and Cui Yongyuan exposed the missing files of the 100 billion RMB [circa USD 16 billion] mining rights case in northern Shaanxi Province, with photos of the files and video testimony from Wang Linqing. The Supreme Court first denied and then admitted it. The final conclusion of the joint investigation team was that Wang Linqing himself stole the dossier in his custody and made up a rumor of his own. But the people are not stupid, instead they think the investigation team was kicked in the head by a donkey!  The official thinks something is just a rumor, the people think it is true, how can we tell what is true? As Na Ying sings: See the flowers through the fog, look at the reflection of the moon in the water, who can tell what is what in this unpredictable world? The clouds fly by, flowers bloom, who can keep up with the great flood of variety of the season?

As Na Ying sings: See the flowers through the fog, look at the reflection of the moon in the water, who can tell what is what in this unpredictable world? The clouds fly by, flowers bloom, who can keep up with the great flood of variety of the season?

    The Wang Linqing Affair only let the people lose confidence in the judicial justice of the Supreme Court, but political rumors are much more harmful, strongly shaking the hearts of the people, and serious subversion of power. During the Qin Dynasty over 2000 years ago, two peasants, Chen Sheng and Wu Guang, created political rumors. They concealed a book and silk in the belly of a fish, “Chen Sheng Wang”, and pretended to be foxes at night, “Great Chu Xing”, rang the death knell of the Qin Empire in one fell swoop. The children’s rhyme “The sky has turned gray, the  yellow storm skies appear, a new calendar cycle has begun, everyone is very lucky” too rhymes with another that stirred the world against the great Han dynasty falls. ” among other rumors were spread. In China, the rumor of “dreadlocks and souls” during the Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty almost caused widespread panic in the society.

Xi Jinping has worried a lot about political rumors in recent years. If he doesn’t make the headlines for one day, there are rumors of a coup, and if he doesn’t appear on camera for two days, there are rumors of gunfire in Zhongnanhai. During his visit to three European countries, his leg was a little weak and so rumors arose that  Xi Jinping will die soon. The Fourth Party Plenum was not held, there are rumors that the old man interfered with politics and ordered him to review. Xi Jinping feels that he has fires to put out every single day. The rumors are ostensibly from overseas hostile forces, but they actually stem from within Zhongnanhai. The reason is that these rumors are “accurate, fast and hard”, and they rub salt into his wounds wherever they are. On the surface, the Zhongnanhai leadership compound is calm and quiet, but behind the scenes, there is the play of swords and shadows.

    On March 28, the Chinese Communist Party issued the “Opinions on Strengthening and Improving the Construction of the Party in the Central and State Organs”, which contains a very striking provision: “It is forbidden to create or spread political rumors and statements that scandalize the image of the Party and the state.” The target is not the general, but the power center, Zhongnanhai, the State Council and state organs. Xi Jinping has unsheathed his knife out of desperation, as these rumors are highly damaging, mostly involving high-level power struggles. Some are even the Politburo Standing Committee and Xi Jinping himself. But with Xi Jinping pointing the finger at Zhongnanhai, a more serious problem has surfaced: Xi Jinping is suspicious of his own Praetorian Guard, so who are his real allies? Below, I will share with my friends about political rumors.

    First, Curiosity Gives Rise to Political Rumors and Social Media Gives Them Wings

    The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said that man is a political animal by nature. Some scholars believe that man’s ambiguity about political events themselves and his desire for political information are the soil of political rumors. When it is impossible to get or accurately get political information, informal channels and hearsay naturally become an effective supplement to quench people’s thirst, and become “good medicine” to relieve people’s anxiety and fear at certain times. An important feature of political rumors is interaction, that is, the generation, processing, dissemination and acceptance of rumors are not a simple linear direction, but a process of constant repetition, role overlap and circular interaction. In this process, rumors are spread and at the same time processed, explained, commented, rationalized and made true, and eventually form a political rumor storm. The generation of political rumors is related to the psychological state of uncertainty and anxiety. In the face of Xi Jinping’s political “backflips”, people are anxious and panic-stricken, eager to capture information and avoid harm. With the help of the Internet, social media has given wings to the spread of rumors. According to the 38th Statistical Report on the Development Status of China’s Internet Network published by the China Internet Network Information Center, as of June 2016, the number of China’s Internet users reached 710 million, with an Internet penetration rate of 51.7%. The size of China’s microblog users is 242 million, and the usage rates of WeChat’s circle of friends and Qzone are 78.7% and 67.4% respectively. A political rumor can spread geometrically in a short period of time with the help of Weibo and WeChat circle of friends, and its influence is magnified exponentially through retweets, likes and comments.

    Second, the Chinese Communist Party’s Backroom Politics Gives Political Rumors Great Vitality

    In early 2012, there were already rumors on the Internet that Bo Xilai had slapped Wang Lijun and that Wang Lijun had entered the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu. Two days after the incident, the then Chongqing Municipal Government Information Office released a news release stating that Wang Lijun was on “leave of absence”. The People’s Daily published an editorial reminding people “not to be disturbed by noise and rumors, not to be confused by rumors. But it turns out that this political rumor is the truth. Not all political rumors in China are rumors, there are many “rumors that are far ahead of the prophecy”. In the United States, there are also political rumors, but the U.S. State Department has a spokesperson to explain public questions, an independent press and full freedom of speech, and an impartial judiciary. In China, however, rumors not only appear frequently but are difficult to dispel because people do not trust official disinformation, and even disinformation itself can become a channel for rumors to spread.

    Third, the Chinese Communist Party Keeps Creating Political Rumors

    During the Great Leap Forward in the 1950s, there were numerous “satellites” in grain production and other areas. This was the first “mu yield great achievement” released in the Great Leap Forward Movement. Only one month later, People’s Daily reported on July 12: “The two-mu [Note: a mu is one-sixth of an acre] wheat yield test field of the fourth team of Heping Agricultural Society in Chengguan Town, Xiping County, Henan Province, with a total yield of 14,640 jins and an average yield of 7,320 jins [Note: roughly pounds] per mu.” . At this time, the “great achievement” has not yet broken through the “mu yield of 10,000 jin”. August 13, “People’s Daily” published a special article: “Ma Cheng Jianguo a community appear the world’s first field, early rice mu yield of 36,900 pounds. ” On September 12, Guangxi Daily reported that the mu yield of the field was “130,434 pounds and 10 taels and 4 coins”. The fact proves that these news reports were are all just rumors. The “September 13” incident in 1973 proved that Lin Biao was a student and close comrade of Mao Zedong, which was a political rumor.

Some Internet users said that around 2015, there were rumors of opening up the two child policy, and the National Family Planning Commission came out to dispel the rumors, saying there was no such thing. Later, the rumor resurfaced, or a reporter asked about the rumor, and the official denied it again. Later, the rumor is still circulating, and the official again and again on different occasions to deny. However, when everyone thought the rumors were false and stopped believing them, and the rumors naturally disappeared, in 2016, the country suddenly introduced the  two child policy, and the whole country got excited about it for a while. Some people were happy since they could have more children. Some people were sad since they had just paid the family planning ] fine for their second child. Perhaps some of the rumors are deliberately created by officials as trial balloons to see how the people will react, to observe the wind direction, to weigh the advisability or tuning in one direction or another.

    To sum up, the totalitarian system of the Chinese Communist Party is not only a meat grinder, but also a political rumor-making machine. Because the Red regime cannot be maintained without rumors, and the struggle for power cannot be maintained without rumors. Rumor after rumor, there are so many rumors. The only way to reduce political rumors is to abandon the totalitarian system and establish a constitutional democratic system of separation of powers and checks and balances. Today, when political rumors continue to flow out of Zhongnanhai and envelop all of China. This signals that the social governance mechanism of the Communist Party of China has failed, that people are thinking of change, and that society is on the eve of a big change, in the midst of expectation and fear, anxiety and agitation. A new era of constitutional democracy is dawning. Xi Jinping, who is in the eye of a storm of political rumors, is miserable and sad. (blog

Party comrades are on the alert too. I just came across this article. Press controls make rumor fighting harder not easier. That seems to be one of the messages in the rumor-fighting article — the second article below — if one reads between the characters.

Strengthen Dissemination of public information, Provide Institutional Safeguards for Squelching Rumors

April 4, 2022 Author:Dong Shaopeng, Deputy Chief Editor of Securities Daily, Senior Researcher at Renmin University Chongyang Institute of Finance

Rumors are special companions of social operation, reflecting the psychological demands of different people and the information game among different value holders. The reasons for the creation and spread of rumors are complex, and the reason for their long existence and constant renovation is that some are related to interests, some are just for gaining eyeballs, and some are designed  for political struggles. No matter what kind of rumors they are, they should not be taken lightly. If they are allowed to develop, they will most likely lead to instability, social unrest and national unrest.

Rumors can be divided into three main categories according to their production process, propagation dynamics and harm level: the first category is the “brain nutritional supplement”“补脑式” rumor. Rumormongers take advantage of people’s thirst for truthful information and integrate incomplete fragments of information to produce and spread false information. Some pieces of information in the rumor are true, but due to incomplete and unbalanced information, they can lead to overall deviations or even misrepresentations, and thus become rumors.

The second type of rumor is the “fabrication for personal advantage” rumor. These rumormongers are mainly interested in gaining attention. Based on certain clues, they deliberately fabricate inaccurate information, create rumors and spread them, and use them as consumer entertainment. The cognitive level and production capacity of these people vary, so the rumor products are also varied and uneven. For some low-end rumors, it is sufficient to warn the rumor fabricator to eliminate them. For harmful rumors, more effort is needed to clarify and severely punish the fabricator according to the law.

The third type of rumor is the “weaponized” rumor. This type of rumor is the most damaging, and its perpetrators target government departments, important public issues, and specific organizations to make precise attacks for maximum benefit. These rumors are sometimes used as tools in political battles between countries. For example, the U.S. is constantly smearing China’s anti-epidemic operations and the governance of China’s Xinjiang and Hong Kong regions, etc. Such rumors and their makers should be fought proactively, decisively and aggressively. In addition, there are also situations where the three types of rumor production are intertwined and extra attention should be paid.

Rumors pose different degrees of harm to normal information dissemination and public order, and must be taken seriously and strengthened. Rumors stop at the wise, and even more so at the common governance. If formal public information platforms fail to respond by releasing timely, comprehensive and accurate information, it will open the space for rumors to spread.

As China becomes more and more open, various changes in the international situation and various games of international power will be transmitted; China’s economic and social development will also affect the pattern of world interests. In this situation, the ability to disseminate information becomes a veritable competitiveness. Therefore, China must strengthen public information dissemination as a livelihood project, a national governance project, and an international competitive cooperation project, which will provide an institutional guarantee for breaking all kinds of rumors.

Based on this, the security problems of information dissemination caused by poor management, lack of risk awareness and deliberate attacks should be strengthened and treated differently, and subjects who fail to act or act in a disorderly manner should be punished according to the law, and subjects who deliberately disrupt the public communication order should be severely punished according to the law. At the same time, the social diversion mechanism should be improved. Government departments, news media, social organizations, experts and scholars should promptly release and explain the relevant information, which is an extremely necessary initiative to eradicate the soil for the spread of rumors, and should also encourage capable people from all sides to participate in the cause of public information dissemination and play their active role in order to quickly stop rumors. 

(Responsible Editor: Huazhang Leshui Zhang Yanling)

(博讯北京时间2019年4月03日首发 – 支持此文作者/记者)








    中共的密室政治和小圈子政治,使民众对于中南海红墙内发生的事情所知甚少,层出不穷的政治谣言可以满足人们的好奇心。2012年初,网络上就已传出薄熙来打了王立军一耳光,王立军进入成都美国领事馆的“政治谣言”。事件发生两天后,当时的重庆市政府新闻办发布消息称,王立军正在进行“休假式治疗”。《人民日报》发表社论提醒民众“不为杂音噪音所扰 不为传闻谣言所惑”。但事实证明,这个政治谣言就是事实。在中国不是所有的政治谣言都是谣言,有很多“谣言是遥遥领先的预言”。在美国,也有政治谣言,但美国国务院有新闻发言人解释公众疑问,有独立的新闻媒体和充分的言论自由以及公正的司法。但在中国,谣言不但出现的频率高,且难以辟谣,因为人们不信任官方的辟谣,甚至辟谣本身会成为谣言传播的渠道。



    综上所述,中共极权制度不仅是一部绞肉机,而且是一部政治谣言制造机器。因为红色政权的维系离不开谣言,权力的斗争离不开谣言。谣言复谣言,谣言何其多。要减少政治谣言,唯一的道路是放弃极权主义制度,建立分权制衡的宪政民主制度。当今,当政治谣言不断从中南海流出来,笼罩整个中国时,其实是中共社会治理机制失灵,人心思变,社会处于大变局的前夜,处在期待与恐惧、焦虑与躁动之中。一个宪政民主的新时代正在到来。处在政治谣言风暴眼中的习近平凄凄惨惨戚戚,怎一个愁字了得。 [博讯首发,转载请注明出处]- 支持此文作者/记者(博讯本文只代表作者或者发稿团体的观点、立场)


时间:2022-04-28    来源:中国网    作者:董少鹏

董少鹏 证券日报副总编辑,人大重阳金融研究院高级研究员







基于此,对因管理不善、风险意识不足和蓄意攻击导致的信息传播安全问题,应加强研究,区别对待,依法惩罚不作为、乱作为的主体,依法严惩蓄意破坏公共传播秩序的主体。同时,要完善社会疏导机制。政府部门、新闻媒体、社会组织、专家学者应及时就相关信息进行发布和阐释,这是铲除谣言传播土壤极为必要的举措,还应鼓励各方有能力的人士参与到公共信息传播事业中来,发挥他们的积极作用,以便快速止谣。(责任编辑:华章 乐水 张艳玲)

About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated, with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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