China nabs 5,400 people for online porn in 2009

(AP) -- Chinese authorities caught nearly 5,400 suspects last year in a crackdown on online pornography and have vowed to strengthen Internet policing.

Beijing's pervasive policing of cyberspace and attempts to block the Internet are already among the world's most stringent. In a statement late Thursday, the Ministry of Public Security said the "purification of the Internet" and fighting of online crime are closely tied to the country's stability.

"Lewd and pornographic content seriously pollutes the online environment, depraves social morals and poisons the physical and psychological health of the masses of young people," the statement said. "It must be firmly controlled."

The ministry said nearly 9,000 pornographic Web sites have been deleted from the Internet and 5,394 suspects captured in 2009, although it did not say how many of them were formally arrested or charged.

It said future efforts would focus on China-based operators of overseas-registered Web sites and companies that provide Internet services, or register or rent virtual space to sites with pornographic content. The ministry also offered rewards to members of the public who provide useful information in policing efforts.

The communist government says the main targets of its Web censorship are pornography, gambling and other sites deemed harmful to society. Critics, however, say that often acts as cover for detecting and blocking sensitive political content. Its restrictions of the Internet are often referred to as the "Great Firewall of ."

Many foreign sites have been blocked by China's Internet authorities, including YouTube, Facebook, and a host of other media and news Web sites.

Last year, China backed down from a requirement for new computers to be loaded with a controversial known as Green Dam Youth escort after a major outcry from Chinese citizens and computer companies. That software had been introduced as a filter against porn.


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Jan 04, 2010
It's very Politically Correct to deplore censorship in any form. However, the Chinese view that media should be controlled by the state for the good of the people has some merit. Take junk mail as an example of information and media that should be controlled for the good of the people. Restrictions on promotion of smoking is another area the west feels censorship is in the benefit of society.

If we accept that gambling and pornography are addictive to some percentage of the population, and detrimental to livelyhood then this seems a reasonable decision on their part.

The concern is that China has a reputation for censoring media in protection of the state. Censoring political content is very not politically correct in America. China seems to view some forms of dissent as harmful to society. I think, however, that in the US this is done routinely by the CIA and other government agencies. I suggest that what is needed is a more complex approach to the morality of censorship.

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