Ren Zhiqiang’s Weibo shut for spreading ‘illegal information’

World Today

Ren Zhiqiang, a Chinese property mogulRen Zhiqiang, a Chinese property mogul

China’s Internet regulator has ordered to shut the personal accounts for a number of notable individuals on popular Chinese social media platforms including Weibo, the country’s largest and most influential Twitter-like service.

The verified account of Ren Zhiqiang, a famous Chinese property mogul with over 37 million followers on Weibo, was taken down on Sunday, according to a statement published on the website of Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), China’s top Internet watchdog.

Webshot of CAC’s statement

Screen grab of CAC's statement

Screen grab of CAC’s statement

In the statement, CAC spokesman Jiang Jun accused Ren that he “continuously publishes illegal information” and “caused negative social impacts” leading to his account closure. Jiang also said well-known figures like Ren should be “especially aware of how to utilize their influence properly.”

Ren, who himself is a member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), was known to be a very active figure on Weibo and regularly published controversial comments on different topics. Recently, his comments against President Xi Jinping’s call to leading Chinese media to strictly follow the leadership of the Party created a public stir.

Apart from Ren, the Internet watchdog has also banned accounts linked to famous Chinese actor Sun Haiying, a local newspaper editor, and an art center manager, respectively.

Recently China launched a major campaign to regulate the country’s Internet, arguably the world’s largest cyberspace with nearly 700 million netizens.

According to CAC, China has halted or blocked over 580 individual social media accounts since early February, including those of popular commentators, for rumor mongering, misleading public and spreading other illegal information.

Meanwhile, CAC also said it has asked websites to delete more than 2,000 rumors concerning people’s daily lives, transportation, food safety and public policies.

Story by CCTV News