Rumors about Jiang Zemin's death are provoking the ire of Chinese censors.
Now there is some worry that those censors will crack down on the bloggers behind the rumors.
Early this week, Chinese social media was rife with claims that the former leader of the People's Republic of China had died.
The proof: Jiang's absence from last week's celebrations of the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Some said Jiang died of heart disease, others said he suffered health complications related to lung cancer.
Yesterday, Chinese news site ifeng.com published a Xinhua release negating the rumors that has since been taken down:
BEIJING - Recent reports of some overseas media organizations about Jiang Zemin's death from illness are 'pure rumor,' Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday, citing authoritative sources.
That's the full text, folks. That's all Xinhua had to say. The leader hasn't made any appearances to negate the rumors.
Below the ifeng.com reprint of the release, Chinese netizens wrote about fears that the government would crack down on those involved in disseminating the rumor, according to Chinasmack.com.
One commentator wrote a particularly chilling comment.
????????? (Those spreading rumors will all be going to have coffee.)
In China, having coffee or having tea is a euphemism for the visits that political police pay dissidents -- often journalists and bloggers.
The Chinese government has blocked searches on Sina Weibo, the Chinese twitter, for death and Jiang, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.