Local taxi driver detained for spreading rumors of border tensions and flight evacuations

A Chongming taxi driver has been punished with five days of detention after spreading rumors concerning China-India border tensions and mass evacuations.
Ti Gong

A local taxi driver has been punished after spreading a rumor over China-India border tensions, Shanghai police said on Wednesday.

The driver, a 46-year-old man surnamed Cheng from Chongming District,  was sentenced to  five days of detention for spreading a rumor in WeChat groups last Sunday that China’s Foreign Ministry had started to evacuate Chinese nationals from India and that "a large amount of flights" would be arriving at Shanghai’s two airports from Sunday afternoon.

His WeChat messages called for taxi drivers to stand by to pick up the passengers, police said.

The messages purported to have been sent by Shanghai Urban Transportation Administrative Department, the government body supervising the taxi industry.

Ti Gong

The false message sent from Cheng's mobile phone.

The rumor, which Cheng posted in WeChat groups used by his relatives and fellow taxi drivers, soon went viral.

On Monday it was spread by a Sina Weibo blogger,  a 22-year-old local man surnamed Cao, who has about 1,000 followers, police said. They added that Cheng was caught yesterday and that Cao, was given a police admonition.

Cheng is alleged to have said he spread the rumors to show off his knowledge of news and because he was bored.

Police warn that people who spread rumors over the Internet could face up to seven years in prison.

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