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Chinese people are being threatened with seven years in prison if they share news about what is happening in their country about the killer epidemic of the coronavirus on social media.

The punishment has been introduced as a measure to stop information and images being leaked that show the true extent of the virus as well as the desperate attempts to keep it under control.

The ruling Chinese Communist Party wants to control just what the world knows about their attempts to control the coronavirus.

The country’s state-controlled People Daily newspaper ran an article warning people against spreading “rumours” on social media.

The article said that those who “disrupt social order” by posting information that doesn’t come from official sources risked up to seven years behind bars.

China’s massive censorship system is used to block any information that the government deems to be a “rumour” or not from an official government source.

However, footage has been leaking out with hospital workers posting traumatic clips where they are struggling to cope with the outbreak.

Other footage has been filmed by concerned citizens that shows people violently being forced to wear masks as well as being barricaded inside their own homes to stop the spread of the bug.

The whistleblowers from Wuhan have since been detained.

Another man who showed the true scale of the coronavirus as body bags piled up inside a Wuhan hospital has also been tracked down and arrested for posting the video on social media.

Human Rights Watch said that police across China have detained dozens of people for posting what is really happening in the country and their response to the coronavirus on social media.

“Authorities should recognise that censorship only fuels public distrust, and instead encourage civil society engagement and media reporting on this public health crisis,” Human Rights Watch China researcher Yaqiu Wang said to news.com.au.

“The coronavirus outbreak requires a swift and comprehensive response that respects human rights.”

This article originally appeared on Over60.

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