The Chinese government has shut down 42 websites and arrested 1065 suspects for fabricating or disseminating online rumors, according to state news agency Xinhua.
A Xinhua said that the Beijing police had deleted 208,000 harmful online messages in last one month as part of the nationwide crackdown on internet-related crimes in the country.
The intensive crackdown came after the Bo-Xilai scandal, which shook the Chinese Communist Party and the government last month. The scandal, which exposed the political-infighting in the Chinese Communist Party, came to light when Bo -Xilai, one of the powerful national leaders in the party, was stripped of his party posts for serious breach of party discipline.
Bo-Xilai's ousting from the party post as Chongqing Party chief came amid reports of a fake coup in the country in which Bo-Xilai was rumored to be involved. The coup rumors originated and propagated in micro-websites and social sharing platforms. The authorities were quick to ban micro-blogging websites and crack down on suspects which carried rumors about the coup.
Even the keyword searching mentioning the names and terms of people or anything related with the scandal have been blocked. The authorities have not released any details of the websites closed or the people arrested.
In last one month, Chinese police have shut down blogs and websites supporting Bo-Xilai or mentioned the infighting in party or about the coup.
Bo-Xilai scandal has turned out to be one the biggest crises that the Chinese Communist Party has faced in past two decades. The scandal, which has all the elements and components of a Hollywood drama, is getting new turns and twists with each passing day. Though the government never said that Bo-Xilai's sacking was connected to the coup, the manner in which the Bo-Xilai and his family were targeted shows the issue is much deeper than a mere criminal case or corruption allegations against Bo-Xilai.
According to the online rumors, the scandal is all about Chinese President Hu Jintao's attempt to maintain political stability by politically eliminating the powerful and ambitious Bo-Xilai.
According to the reports, Bo-Xilai's trouble started with his rift with Chongqing police chief, Wang Lijun. The political saga has now become a crisis that has attracted international attention as Gu Kailai, wife of Bo-Xilai, was arrested for her alleged involvement in the murder of Neil Heywood, a China-based British business man.
Heywood was initially claimed to have died of alcohol poisoning or heart attack. However, the case was reopened by the Chinese authorities against the Bo-Xilai family, after suspicions of foul play emerged.
His wife's arrest led to the removal of Bo-Xilai from party politburo, virtually ending his political career. A high level investigation is on against Bo-Xilai on the allegations. Now with each passing day, the issue is becoming more controversial with the emergence of new corruption allegations against Bo-Xilai family and rumors about the involvement of other politicians in the scandal.
The crisis has engulfed the party to the extent that according to the media reports the Chinese government is making all effort to maintain that all is well within the party. The issue will determine the fate of other political leaders like Zhou Yongkang, who is also blamed to be involved in the coup, along with Bo-Xilia.
However, political observers feel that there is much more in the Bo-Xilai scandal than what is visible now. The issue would not end in just by jailing Bo-Xilai and his wife, who once were considered as the golden couples in the Chinese politics, and might go beyond that exposing the ugly power struggle in the Communist Party in China.