China moves to quash outbreak of rumours

People at an internet cafe in Wuhan, Hubei province Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

The Chinese Government has launched a wide-ranging crackdown on social media in an attempt to quash rumours of a coup once and for all.

The rumours first emerged soon after Bo Xilai, the populist leader of the mega-city of Chongqing, was unceremoniously sacked last month.

Mr Bo's sudden fall from grace triggered immediate speculation about his fate and what it signified about the internal politics of the Communist party.

In recent weeks there has even been - seemingly unfounded - suggestions that Mr Bo was stockpiling weapons in preparation for an armed uprising and that troops were on the move.

In response, the Government has closed dozens of websites, clamped down on social media and arrested many people. The search term 'coup' has been blocked.

As ITV News' China Correspondent Angus Walker reports, the Communist party is preparing for a once-in-a-decade handover of power in the autumn, which may explain why tolerance of dissent on the internet is so low.