Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/21/fukushima_scare/

Chinese man jailed for provoking nuke panic

Shared fake Fukushima net warning 'without a second thought'

By Lester Haines

Posted in Media, 21st March 2011 19:00 GMT

A Chinese man has copped 10 days in jail and a 500 yuan ($76) fine for redistributing a fake radiation warning he picked up on the internet.

The 31-year-old Hangzhou computer company worker, identified by his surname "Chen", read news from a "reliable source" on 15 March that the sea off China's eastern Shandong province was contaminated by radiation from Japan's Fukushima plant.

The advisory "instructed people to tell family and friends to store salt and dry kelp as much as possible and not eat seafood from the area for one year", the People's Daily explains.

Chen redistributed the news to friends and family "without a second thought", and things got out of hand when it spread online across Hangzhou, "triggering a panic among citizens".

The perp was duly "criticized and educated by police", and posted an online clarification of his error.

China last week suffered the effects of a similarly false rumour which suggested that iodised salt might protect against Fukushima radiation. Cue panic buying which required government intervention to ensure the country didn't run out of the product completely. Xinhua has more here. ®