BEIJING - Police in a north China city said on Monday that they have sentenced a man to two years of "labor re-education" for spreading rumors of an outbreak of the SARS virus in the city.
The man, surnamed Liu, was sentenced on Sunday to labor re-education "in accordance with the law", according to a police statement in Baoding city in Hebei province. The announcement was published on the Baoding public security bureau's website, which did not disclose the man's full name.Liu worked as an administrator for a website and in a bid to improve traffic spread "false information" that a Baoding hospital had confirmed a case of SARS, the statement said.
"The false information ... had an impact and disrupted the social order," the statement said.
In 2003, Chinese officials covered up the spread of "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome" for weeks before a growing death toll and rumors forced the government to reveal the epidemic, apologize and vow full candor in future disease outbreaks.