The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau has announced that rumormongers using SMS to spread false information will be sentenced to more than five years in prison if convicted.
BMPSB made the announcement following Beijing Municipal Health Department's clarification of a rumor which went through SMS that some pigs in the Tongzhou District of Beijing died for unknown reasons and were sold in the market in the form of pork, ham and sausage. The short message warned people not to eat pork as some may contain a virus that would cause purulent cephalitis.
The short message apparently put many citizens into a panic.
A representative from BMPSB says that those people who intentionally spread rumors or give false information about dangers, epidemics or crimes can also face steep, undisclosed fines.