A court in Kunming City in southwest China's Yunnan Province on Thursday upheld the sentences handed down to two people for fabricating and spreading online rumors for economic gain.
Dong Rubin was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison for illegal business operations. His co-conspirator, Hou Peng, received a three-year jail term with a three-year reprieve for the same charge by the court of Wuhua District. Dong and Hou were fined 350,000 yuan (about 56,000 US dollars) and 50,000 yuan respectively.
Dong appealed after the ruling and the Intermediate People's Court of Kunming City upheld the verdict.
The court found that the defendants fabricated online posts at the request of clients from March 2011 to May 2013. Dong organized and participated in four crimes involving 345,000 yuan, and Hou was involved in three cases involving 255,000 yuan.
Dong, who uses the online name "Bianmin," was also convicted of "creating disturbances" by posting fake information and comments in order to gain popularity. His posts distorted facts concerning the Mekong River attack, in which 13 sailors were murdered in October 2011 by a Myanmar drug ring.
The widely-circulated content tarnished the image of the government and seriously disturbed the social order, said the verdict.