China shuts more than 18,500 internet accounts for 'spreading fake news' during coronavirus outbreak

Multiple accounts had promoted false information about the outbreak, causing negative social impact, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) accused.Beijing’s cover-up of the extent of the 2003 SARS epidemic had fuelled suspicion and mistrust and led to official calls for openness this time around.Especially, China’s censorship machine was tested when Dr Li Wenliang, a Chinese doctor who had been reprimanded for issuing an early warning about coronavirus, died of the disease on February 7, triggering widespread outrage as well as mourning.Online media outlets were permitted to report on Dr Li’s death, but not the anger it had engendered, and early discussions on social media calling for the Wuhan government to apologise to him later disappeared.

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