Chinese man jailed for spreading radiation rumors

A Chinese man was jailed for 10 days and hit with a 500 yuan ($76.13) fine for spreading rumors online that the nuclear accident at a power plant in Japan had contaminated Chinese waters.

Authorities in Zhejiang province said that a computer company worker by the name of Chen used the handle “old fisherman” to urge people to warn family members that nuclear contamination had reached waters off China’s eastern Shandong province. He asked people to spread the word and to stockpile salt.

Why salt? That was part of another rumor that was floating around the Chinese Interwebs that said that the iodine in salt could help stave off radiation sickness. Although it sounds absurd, the rumor sparked a spate of panic buying and led to salt shortages.

Anyway, for Chen’s part, he seems contrite. The People’s Daily reported that he told the police that he found the information on the Internet and “transmitted it to friends and family without thinking.” They also said that Chen had admitted to a “deep awareness of his mistake”.

You have got to feel a little sympathy for poor Chen, who seems to only be guilty of being a sap. [Reuters]


C.S. Magor is the editor-in-chief and a reporter at large for We Interrupt and Uberreview. He currently resides in the Japanese countryside approximately two hours from Tokyo - where he has spent the better part of a decade testing his hypothesis that Japan is neither as quirky nor as interesting as others would have you believe.
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