Chinese censors are killing posts with references to rivers, laundry amid rumours that Jiang Zemin, who led the country before president Hu Jintao took over, is dead or seriously ill.
The rumours appear to have started when the 84-year-old failed to show up at the 90th anniversary of the Communist party on Friday. To get around the censorship bloggers were using shorter forms to sneak past the censors. “Jiang" which means river was used until that was banned.
Censors also began to remove one of the cheekiest references to Jiang: an empty set of clothes hanging up, with the trousers high up. Some internet users began posting about a leader called "River", using the English word. What is strange is that Jiang's death would be unlikely to cause major ripples as he is not involved in the day to day running of the government any more.
Two Hong Kong television stations have reported that Jiang has died, citing unidentified sources.