Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chinese Porn Site

China shut down 44,000 websites and arrested 868 people for "unhealthy" internet pornography last year, according to state media.

China's Public Security Ministry said pornography had "perverted China's young minds".

Nearly 2000 people involved in internet pornography activities were also penalised, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

China's online population has soared to 210 million people and could surpass the United States this year to become the world's biggest, the official China Internet Network Information Center said earlier this month.

The Chinese president, Hu Jintao, said the country's sprawling internet posed a threat to social stability.

One of the sites shut down was selling real-time porn - 33 people were arrested, according to state media.

The live site, whose server was based in Taiwan, charged viewers to watch strip shows or other pornographic performances that were staged in China.

"This operation started up in the second half of 2006 and took in more than one million yuan [£71,000] in just three months," Xinhua said.

The site was said to have been the most widely visited pornographic site among those that were shut down as part of last year's clean up.

Human rights groups have said the government's internet campaign has been used as a thinly veiled pretext to crack down on dissent and round up online dissidents ahead of the Olympics.

China has attempted to stifle online criticism of the ruling Communist Party and discussion related to sensitive topics such as Tibet and Taiwan by ordering websites to register with authorities.

Authorities registered 199,000 websites last year, Xinhua said, but refused 14,000 for failing to get official registration or to apply for official approval.

China recently said it wanted to exert more control over internet videos and video-sharing websites.

The government employs tens of thousands of internet censors and a vast network of electronic filters to control online information.

Chinese websites also often hire their own censors to eliminate certain content.

The anti-pornography campaign would continue until September, Xinhua said, "after the Beijing Olympic Games end".

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