Over 4,000 illegal websites shut down amid latest internet cleanup campaign
Published: Sep 08, 2021 08:03 PM
Online cleanup campaign. Photo: VCG

Online cleanup campaign. Photo: VCG

More than 400,000 pieces of vulgar and harmful information were removed and 4,800 websites were shut down in China's internet cleanup campaign, which was jointly launched by six ministries and departments in June, the National Office Against Pornography and Illegal Publications said on Wednesday.

The office has also urged websites and platforms to get rid of more than 20 million pieces of vulgar and harmful information, and remove more than 8 million illegal accounts.

In one example, authorities in Jinhua, East China's Zhejiang Province, investigated a case of a website spreading obscene videos and pictures. Customers were attracted through online shopping platforms to social media for secret deals. In the case, over 8,000 videos and 50,000 pictures were spread, reaching to over 100,000 people, most of whom were minors and students. The main culprit surnamed Jiang was recently sentenced to six years in prison, while another was sentenced to three years in prison.

The campaign focused on crackdown on chaotic phenomena of entertainment circles, minors' addiction to online games, and problems such as online behaviors that disrupt market order. It also targeted actions infringing on users' rights and interests, threatening data security, and violating resource and qualification management regulations.

On May 8, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) revealed a "Clear and Bright" campaign, aiming to crack down on illegal online behaviors, including chaotic phenomena relating to the entertainment sector and irrational behaviors of fan groups.

On August 27, the CAC specified 10 measures aiming at enhancing a sense of urgency to regulate the fan circle culture to safeguard online political and ideological security, and supervise the platforms to implement the measures. The measures include cancelling all ranking lists of entertainers, barring forums that promote fights which lead to chaos, and requesting agencies to better guide fan groups.  

To prevent gaming addiction among minors, China's National Press and Publication Administration, the country's media regulator, on August 30 ordered internet gaming companies to provide just one hour of service to minors from 8-9 pm on Fridays, weekends and official holidays.

"Since the launch of the campaign, the internet environment has been significantly improved, and the order of the network market has become more standardized," said responsible person of the office.

However, problems such as value-oriented deviation and vulgar contents have not been completely contained, indicating that the campaign should continue, the responsible person said.