SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese police have detained two men and reprimanded another for spreading online rumours about telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei, state news agency Xinhua reported late on Thursday.
Huawei filed a complaint about rumours being spread online that some of its employees had been detained on charges of spying for the United States, the report said.
The company is currently struggling against tough U.S. sanctions that ban it from doing business with major global tech firms. Its Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou remains under arrest in Canada awaiting extradition to the United States on fraud charges.
Police investigations showed that a resident of Shenzhen, surnamed Wu, invented the story and spread it via WeChat. A resident of Dongguan then “exaggerated” and spread the story further. They have been given 10 and three days of administrative detention, respectively.
A third man, a Beijing resident who forwarded the story to other chatrooms, was reprimanded by police.
Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
China strictly monitors internet content and employs an army of censors to scrub away information it says will disrupt “social order”.
On Wednesday, the government announced the launch of a campaign to clean up its internet aimed at punishing “illegal and criminal actions” by websites.
It has also shut down domestic financial news website Wallstreetcn.com and blocked overseas news providers, such as the Washington Post and the Guardian.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Sam Holmes)