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China to intensify online porn crackdown
Updated: 2009-02-07 11:01

After a one-month crackdown that shut 1,635 websites, China has vowed to continue the fight against online pornography and extend it to contents uploaded to cell phone websites, chat rooms and instant messenger groups.

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"Internet pornography is not only preventing the healthy development of the country's Internet services, but also eroding people's mind, destroying the moral standard of the society and endangering young people's healthy growth," said Liu Yunshan, China's top official in charge of media and publicity, at a meeting in Beijing on Friday.

As of February 5, a total of 1,635 illegal websites and 217 blogs with "lewd" content had been shut down and more than four million porn-related posts or messages have been deleted, according to information from the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, headed by Liu.

Liu said the crackdown would be extended to contents on cell phone websites, chat rooms, instant messenger groups, video download services and other VIP member sections.

The government would launch a round of doublechecks on the websites that had been previously warned to remove any lewd content. Those sites that played around the warning by changing their Internet address or page appearances will be "severely punished," he said.

Liu said the government would "crush the vitality of pornography websites to the utmost and chop off the profit chains that porn sites feed on."

The meeting was held two weeks after a principal of the special operation office for the crackdown said the move was not "flash in the pan" and it would be followed up with more activities.

The meeting also urged telecommunication companies and Internet service providers to arrange special personnel to supervise the Web and deal with public reports on lewd content timely.

The one-month campaign was launched on January 5 by the State Council's Information Office, Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Culture and four other government agencies.

Public distribution of pornography is illegal in China. Search engine giants including Google, Baidu and MSN China were among the country's blacklist for providing obscene content and being slow to delete erotic materials.

According to the China Internet Network Information Center, the country's Internet usage hit 298 million users  by the end of 2008, overtaking the U.S. as the nation with the world's largest online population.