back to article Chinese man jailed for provoking nuke panic

A Chinese man has copped 10 days in jail and a 500 yuan ($76) fine for redistributing a fake radiation warning he picked up on the internet. The 31-year-old Hangzhou computer company worker, identified by his surname "Chen", read news from a "reliable source" on 15 March that the sea off China's eastern Shandong province was …


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  1. Tasogare

    These must be the same people...

    ....who carry chain mail or answer Nigerian spam. After all, some guy online wrote it so it must be true! Now if only they would jail all the other idiots involved too. Sounds like there were a lot here.

    We had someone like this at work (gullible person distributing chain "warning" emails). Past tense because I think being publicly linked to Snopes' debunkings ten or fifteen times eventually broke the habit.

    1. Kevin Fairhurst

      You will find...

      They still do it, they just know not to CC you any more ;)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    euphemism much

    "The perp was duly "criticized and educated by police"" I wonder how many "educations" he got.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      two black eyes?

      "we had to educate him twice."

    2. Monkey Bob

      How many educations?

      Just the one, but he was educated to within an inch of his life.

  3. Anonymous John
    Thumb Up

    Re jailed for provoking nuke panic

    If that could happen here, there wouldn't be any tabloids to read for a while.

    1. John Riddoch
      Thumb Up

      Great plan!

      A fantastic plan with no possible drawbacks!

    2. Suburban Inmate
      Thumb Up


      For the obscure red dwarf reference!!! now i am too ill gooodnight

  4. Annihilator
    Paris Hilton


    It's hardly a prison-worthy offence. If wishing made it so though, for every email informing me of a health scare or "potatoes give you cancer" story that a family member has felt the need to forward on to me...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    We need some chinese justice...

    meated out to the gutter press here.

    Lets face it, our gutter press churn out crap like this on a daily basis.

    Paris, because she's fake.

    1. JaitcH

      Re: Paris, because she's fake.

      Did you hear the prosecutor that had Paris convicted for heroin was arrested for ... buying heroin!

      Case research, I guess. He's 48, out of a job and facing his ex-friends!

  6. Dan Beshear
    Thumb Up

    They should do this in the US

    Maybe they can get people to quit blindly passing along crazy aunt Gertrude's chain letter.

  7. JaitcH

    Actually it was a Chinese government chappy who said ....

    citizens should take 3 KILOGRAMS (appropriately 6.613867865546327 pounds for fastidious readers, or 6 kati for those many Chinese readers of Reg) to ward off the effects of radiation.

    Since this guy has stature in the government, he got away with no punishment.

    There were even deals like: “Buy one, get one bag of salt free.” Where salt was unavailable residents resorted to cleaning out stocks of soy sauce.

    You should remember that large mass of Chinese, living in the country, are largely uneducated and rely on those who had enough money to get an education, for news.

  8. Richard Freeman
    Thumb Up

    I like it

    Fines for first time offenders and then prison sentences to people forwarding Chain Emails - with harsher penalties for those idiots that start them.

    Makes sense to me

  9. geejayoh

    I experienced it...

    I live in China, in Canton and it happened here. I came home from work and my girlfriend said she'd been around 6 different supermarkets trying to find salt. I tried to explain to her the absurdity of the situation but she said we needed it. She ended up by a kilo.

    Table salt doesn't even come from the sea!

    1. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

      @geejayoh "Table salt doesn't even come from the sea"

      True - but in many places (no idea about China) it's artifically iodinated. Oddly, this forced mass medication with one halogen seems to cause no upset, whereas putting another one in drinking water causes rampant baying at the moon.

  10. Oninoshiko
    Paris Hilton

    I'll admit ignorance here

    but how bad would it really be if they ran out of iodized salt? I think there is some condition which the iodine does actually prevent, but I would think things would be alright until they get more in. I suppose they could be needing enough individual preserving to require it, but I'm not sure.

    Paris, she doesn't know either.

    1. Anonymous John

      Re I'll admit ignorance here

      The thyroid needs iodine, or your metabolism goes pear shaped. Soils in some parts of the world is deficient so salt is iodised to compensate.

      You don't want radioactive iodine in your thyroid, and I understand it's easily displaced by taking more iodine.

      1. Oninoshiko

        yes, the thyroid

        that was it. I didn't think it was an overly rapid thing, the development of problems due to iodine deficiency. I would think that you would be alright for a while, maybe a couple of weeks, until they can get more iodized salt in.

  11. Andydaws

    I can think of several reporters and media organisations

    who'd be good candidates for this.

    Can we "re-educate" the entire editorial and reporting team of the Daily Mail, for example?

  12. unitron
    Big Brother

    I feel so hypocritical...

    ...for finding myself in agreement with Chinese government harsh measures.

  13. Richard Jukes


    Who wants to bet the rumour was started by the CEO of the major Salt companies?

  14. taxman

    Heaven Preserve us

    Another gambit to preserve the countrys population?

    Well smoked and now well salted.

    Ok ,ok

  15. Anonymous Coward

    here in California our own government does the same thing.

    we get "alerts" like this all the time. Some from official government sources. American Leftists *WANT* the panic. After all, once you've made sure the general public can't afford oil, and you've made sure no nuclear power is available for all the government-mandated electric cars, the Elite get that Euro-styled Lord-and-serf government they fantasize about.

    Here in the US, if a citizen tries to *stop* nuclear paranoia and fake warnings he gets attacked and threatened with legal action.

    BTW, Iodide tablets still selling locally on Craigslist for between $70 and $100USD a bottle.

  16. BraveOak


    In all seriousness having some kind of law in place to make the spreading of false information illegal, punishable by a fine perhaps, might be a good idea. It would make people think before they speak.

    Of course people would balk at such an idea. Yet we already have such legal limits on free speach in the form of libel laws. As a consequence people have to be careful what they say about others in public. If such libel laws are necessary to a degree to protect people's reputations against false claims then why not a law against false claims in general?

    It could just involve small fines like speeding, not a major crime, but it would factor in some element of justice against misinformation. Of course who determines what's true and what's misleading? Well that must already be being determined in libel cases. If it's good enough there...

    Perhaps the law could be aimed at public pronouncements that are aimed at an audience over a certain limit, eg 10,000+. Would it therefore really affect anyone other than journalists and politicians and force them to be more careful about their facts and not to lie?

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