Rescuers search in Xiongmaohai area in the quake-hit Jiuzhaigou County, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Aug 12, 2017. The Ministry of Public Security of China said Some people spread online rumors of earthquakes in different areas in China since the Sichuan earthquake, creating panic and harming social stability. (LI JI / XINHUA)
BEIJING – China's Ministry of Public Security is investigating crimes related to earthquake rumors online and charity fraud after a deadly earthquake struck southwest China's Sichuan Province, the ministry said on Saturday.
Rumors of earthquakes in different areas in China created and spread by several Internet users since the Sichuan earthquake have caused social panic and harmed social stability, according to the ministry.
The ministry has put four people under administrative detention for sending rumors via Wechat, a Chinese mobile instant messaging app with millions of users.
The ministry also launched an investigation into charity fraud that took advantage of people's sympathy for the earthquake victims.
Internet users should not create, believe, or pass on rumors, said an official with the ministry.
The ministry welcomes reports of online rumors from the public.
A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the popular tourist destination of Jiuzhaigou County in Sichuan Tuesday night, leaving 24 dead and hundreds injured.