It emerged on Thursday that Chinese censors deleted more than 210,000 posts and closed down 42 websites in less than a month as gossip on the Internet about an imminent coup spread across social networking websites and micro-blogging sites like sina.com.
In late March, six persons were also arrested for putting on updates that allegedly fanned rumours of a rebellion.
Liu Zhengrong, a senior official with the state internet information office, revealed the figures during a media event in Beijing, saying the move, jointly taken by the Internet administration, telecoms and police agencies, has led to an improved online environment. He said Internet-based rumour creation is illegal in China.
The crackdown seems to be intertwined with the Bo Xilai case as the coup rumours spread thicker after he was ousted from his post of Communist Party of China chief of Chongqing.
Speculation is now rife about the kind of business connection that Bo's wife Gu Kailai had with Neil Heywood; she has been detained for her alleged involvement in Heywood's murder.