Rumor: Peking University graduate with failed start-up initiative killed local Communication Bureau official
Refuted: 100% fabricared
Rumor power: 2/5
Original weibo post: 6389 retweets
On April 2, 2012, a Weibo post emerged about a tragic story where a recent Peking University graduate Mr.Wang went back to his hometown after failing to land a job in Beijing. He then started a children education website. But local Communication Bureau shut down his website, saying that education related websites required permits. Wang then filed 3 applications at the Bureau, which were all rejected. However, he was told that if he was willing to pay a 1000 permit-approval fee, he would get what he wanted. Instead of paying the fee, Wang took a knife and stabbed an official responsible for approving permits at the local Communication Bureau to death. To add more color to the story, Wang’s last words when he turned himself in were. “I have no regret for they took away my right to make a living independently.”
The story was then found to be in existence since 2009 and 100% fabricated. However, it depicts a tragic underdog-standing-against-corrupted government story that many Chinese find easy to relate to.
Rumor: Baby stolen
Refuted: Baby taken by divorced dad who fought for child custody
Rumor power: 4/5
Original weibo post: 75,140 retweets | 10876 comments
On March 14, 2012, a baby called Chen Mo was rumored to be stolen by a gang of two men and one women. In the original tweet, Mrs. Chen, supposing the baby’s mom even left her cell phone numbers.
Two days later, it was found that the baby was taken by his dad, who was filing a divorce with the baby’s mom. Apparently, the two didn’t reach an agreement on whom the child should belong to.
Recently, Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, two of China’s most popular and most active Twitter-like services, were “punished” for Beijing coup rumors. Subsequently, both services shut down their comment function, the most democratizing feature on their sites.
But way before the recent chill, rumor refutation service has been available on Sina Weibo via official rumor refutation account @微博辟谣V. Everybody on Sina Weibo has a little blurb of recent refuted rumors showing on the bottom right corner of their homepages.
The recent news makes it ever more clear that reading rumors oftentimes is more interesting than reading official news, especially in a country where censorship penetrates deep everywhere. Only rumors with considerable influence are worth the trouble of refuting, which means they are things that got Chinese people’s attention. So…this Tumblr account will be recording each and every refuted rumor on Sina Weibo in the hope to offer a glimpse into what gets Chinese people excited.