China blog site shuts accounts over ‘rumors’

BEIJING (AP) ? China’s most popular microblogging site has launched a crackdown on what it says is use of its service to spread false rumors after the Communist Party told Internet companies to tighten control over information.

Sina Corp.’s Weibo service has sent notices to its 200 million users denying two reports, including one about the killing of a 19-year-old woman. It said accounts of users who spread the reports were temporarily closed.

The ruling Communist Party is in the midst of its most sweeping crackdown on dissent in years as it tries to prevent the rise of Middle East-style protests.

A party leader told Internet companies last week to tighten controls and prevent the spread of false and “harmful information.”