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China Daily Website

42 websites closed over blackmailing

Updated: 2012-04-30 14:01
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - Chinese authorities have announced the closure of 42 websites involved in instances of blackmail, with the websites posing as accredited media entities that threatened to disclose "negative information" about their victims.

The administrators of the websites, including and, were found to have masqueraded as journalists from government agencies and public welfare institutions by using fake names and fabricated press badges, Xinhua was told Saturday by a source from the State Internet Information Office (SIIO).

News reporters are required to possess a press card issued by the General Administration of Press and Publication in order to report, according to an unnamed senior SIIO official.

The perpetrators forced several organizations and individuals to pay them "hush money," said the official, who added that the closures took place "recently" but did not specify the date.

"These odious practices have done serious harm," the official said, referring to the acts as "severely illegal."

The official said all perpetrators involved in the blackmail cases will be punished, urging the public to report any illegal online activity.

The SIIO also announced the recent closure of 21 websites for distributing pornographic content, bringing the total number of such websites to be closed by Chinese authorities since March to 107.