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Porn crackdown crucial to cyber development: experts

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-4-16 16:53:30

China's latest crackdown on online pornography is crucial to the development of the Internet, experts have said.

Bu Xiting, an official at the Communication University of China, sees the campaign as a sign of the government's determination to create a healthy cyberspace.

"[It] shows that China is taking an important step toward the rule of law in the virtual world," Bu said.

He said that as China has built up the biggest population of netizens amid decades of breakneck Internet development, forums, websites and online game ads have wielded bad influences by touting themselves with sexual hype, which is why the government needs to step in.

China launched a sweeping campaign against the spread of online porn on Sunday.

The cyberspace raid, "Cleaning the Web 2014," will involve thorough checks on websites, search engines and mobile application stores, Internet TV USB sticks, and set-top boxes, the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications said in a circular.

All online texts, pictures, videos and advertisements with pornographic content will be deleted, according to the circular.

Websites, web channels and columns will be shut down or have their administrative license revoked if they are found to produce or spread pornography, it said.

Websites, telecom operators and web portals were asked to conduct a self-examination straight away and clean up illegal information and links.

This is just the latest effort by Chinese authorities to stamp out inappropriate online content, as they regularly issue orders and mete out stiff penalties to address web porn.

In 2011, the government awarded 2,129 people with more than 9.3 million yuan (1.47 million US Dollars) for reporting Internet and mobile-phone pornography to authorities, according to official sources.

In late 2012, a two-month campaign was launched against pornographic and illegal publications nationwide. Meanwhile, major web portals and telecom operators signed a letter of commitment vowing to end the spread of online pornography.

In October 2013, Chinese police busted four transnational child porn websites and arrested more than 250 suspects in a joint operation with foreign police, five months after Chinese authorities seized 180,000 online publications involved in the dissemination of porn, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Bu said that the latest drive, which will last until November, is both "inevitable" and "necessary," as the Internet world is still overrun with pornographic content due to loose supervision.

He was echoed by Han Jun, deputy dean with the School of Journalism and Communication at Northwest University, who said that the new campaign will ram home the message that what is immoral and illegal in real life remains so when it is transferred to the Internet.

"Rampant pornography has disrupted social order and tainted the image of the country as a whole, casting a bad influence on the public, particularly minors," she said, adding that netizens should abide by laws and regulations and follow a proper moral code.

Bu said that while China should stick to the current policy, it is necessary to ramp up supervision levels to create a healthier online community.

"The government should improve its legal mechanism regarding the Internet to supervise the virtual world more efficiently," he urged.
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