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Chinese state media have sought to quiet online speculation that a conflict with Taiwan may be imminent, in a sign of how heated rhetoric between Washington and Beijing was feeding public concern about the risk of war.

Chinese social media networks have seen a flurry of chatter about a possible Taiwan crisis in recent days, seemingly fueled by Beijing’s call for citizens to stockpile food and an unrelated message claiming to show the nation was preparing to mobilize military reserves. The surge came after a report by China’s state broadcaster saying that Taiwanese were hoarding their own survival supplies.

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