China crackdown on porn shutters 60,000 sites

Investigations lead to the arrest of 4,965 people suspected of disseminating pornography in 2010, five of whom received jail sentences of five or more years.

China claims to be making progress in its fight against Internet pornography.

More than 60,000 Web sites were shut down and about 350 million pieces of pornographic and indecent content were eliminated from the Internet in 2010, the country's state-run Xinhua news agency reported Thursday.

Police investigated 2,197 cases involving 4,965 people suspected of disseminating pornography via the Internet or cell phone in violation of China law, according to the report. Of those suspects, 58 received jail sentences of five or more years, according to the report.

Wang Chen, head of the State Council Information Office, heralded the campaign as successful and necessary.

"Our campaign has been a great success and this has not been achieved easily," Wang said at a news conference, according to a Reuters report. "We have made the Internet environment much cleaner than before as there was a lot of pornography available.

"As long as there are people with bad motives who want to spread violent or pornographic information, we will have to continue our campaign to resolutely crack down on the spread of such information," he said.

Police also confiscated more than 37 million pirated items, including DVDs and books, Xinhua reported.

China, which boasts the world's largest Internet base with 450 million users, implemented new regulations in 2010 regarding cell phone users and Web site operators that were designed to aid police in their investigations. In September, China began requiring cell phone users (including foreign tourists) to provide identification when they set up a new account. And in February, the government announced that Web site operators will need to submit photographs of themselves and meet Internet service providers in person.

 

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