China Strengthens Internet Porn Crackdown With Arrests, More Closures

Jan 17, 2009 10:00 AM PST
BEIJING, China — The Chinese government’s crackdown on online adult content has strengthened even more today to now include 28 arrests, several newly targeted areas and a total of 277 website shutdowns over the past 11 days.

In the latest attack on Internet “vulgarity,” nearly 30 suspects were arrested on criminal charges alleging that they were affiliated with illegal online activity. Included in the arrests were four men who ran a website called Midnight Prostitute Call, as well as two men who allegedly ran a fraudulent video-chat service.

The ruling Communist Party began warning websites with “lewd” content and other “harmful” material, including Internet giants Google and Baidu, to either remove the content or undergo “stern punishment” on Jan. 5. The party took it to the next level by issuing warnings to more websites, including Microsoft’s MSN, and starting the first of many website closures last week. The number of shutdowns has now risen to 277.

Officials have also cracked down on pornography and “politically harmful information” in several new areas, including online novels and radio programs, as well as in mobile phone games.

According to a principal at the Special Operation Office for the Crackdown on Online Porn and Lewd Content, the effort to purify the Internet was not merely a “flash in the pan,” and would lead to further efforts to step up censorship.

The names of most of the closures, as well as the permanence of the closures, had not been released at time of post.

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