After three months of investigations, the country's first case of illegally deleting posts and hyping issues on the internet, which involved four million yuan ($610,000), was closed in July 2017, leading to the arrest of 77 people, seizing a large stash of cell phones, removable storage devices and bank cards, according to the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.
Police also solved more than 40 such cases involving about 100 million yuan, shutting down over 5,000 internet accounts linked to illegal paid dissemination of rumors, the MPS said.
Nearly 10,000 such websites were shut down during the campaign, it said.
"The MPS campaign is the online part of social governance, and it has improved the cyberspace management capabilities of the government as well as allowed the public to get real satisfaction and benefits from the internet," Qin An, director of the China Institute of Cyberspace Strategy, told the Global Times on Monday.
The ministry also published details on such cases, in which the detainees were suspected of illegally influencing public sentiment and obtaining and reselling personal information.
"An 'online water army' committed illegal acts in cyber space for financial or political purposes, which has greatly impacted the cyber environment in the past few years," Qin said.
"Online water army" refers to groups who hire a huge number of people to post information on the internet to speculate on certain topics or figures. They flood the net with information that is, in most cases, false for the sake of spreading propaganda, sales or defamation.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) issued a regulation Friday requiring microblog service operators to establish systems to address rumors found on their platforms.