Online reports of tanks on the streets of the capital Beijing and shots fired within the secure leaders' compound - which is located next door the top tourist attraction, the Forbidden City - are being closely monitored by the international intelligence communities, including the U.S. and UK.Popular Chinese microblogging sites Sina Weibo, QQ Weibo and the bulletin board of the search engine Baidu, all reported 'abnormalities' in Beijing on the night of March 19, Mail Today reported.
The comments included rumours of the downfall of the country's Shanghai leadership faction, a reference to high-level officials who hail from the coastal financial hub, which has traditionally been the home of reformers and modernisers in the Party.
Some of the comments claimed a possible 'military coup' had been attempted, along with other reports of gunfire and swarms of plain clothes and uniformed security officers on Changan Street, which is close to Tiananmen Square, the scene of the 1989 massacre of pro-democracy protesters.
All the reports have been removed by China's army of internet censors and can no longer be accessed.MailOnline cannot confirm the rumours but the reports have caused a speculative and nervous atmosphere in the capital.
The alarming rumours were widely circulated early on Wednesday and follow the sacking of an ambitious corruption-busting official, Bo Xilai, who is reported to have close ties to nationalistic generals in the People's Liberation Army.
Bo, the Party Secretary of the mega-city of Chongqing in west China, was widely tipped to join the all-powerful, nine-strong Politburo Standing Committee in the autumn.
But he was sacked after his right-hand man and police chief, Wang Lijun, sought asylum at a U.S. consulate last month.Mr Wang 'feared for his life' after he was dismissed for ordering an investigation into the business dealings of Bo's family.
The firing of Mr Bo, a telegenic controversial figure who had been encouraging 'Mao-stalgia' - a return to the 'red' socialist culture and values of Chairman Mao Zedong - has become a rare political drama in the authoritarian state as it prepares for a once-in-a-decade leadership change later this year.
Many observers of China's opaque political elite are united in believing the ousting of Mr Bo has divided many within the Party, with the main division drawn between outgoing Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and officials close to the Minister of Public Security, Zhou Yongkang.
Bo is the 'princeling' son of a famous communist revolutionary but his lavish lifestyle - his son reportedly went to Harrow and Oxford - and robo-cop approach to busting mafia gangs linked to businessmen and government officials caused controversy, with many claiming he used his anti-corruption drive to lock up political opponents.
But he curried favour with many Chinese with his calls for a revival of Maostalgia, a movement which saw Premier Wen Jiabao warn the country last week that it could not survive another Cultural Revolution, which, 45 years ago, caused untold misery and deaths, casting China back to the dark ages.