BEIJING: Chinese officials said they began blocking some Chinese-language search results Friday from Google over concerns that these links contained pornographic content.
The national office for Internet pornography crackdown said it has asked the U.S.-based search engine to remove the disputed content.
The office said Friday that officials had summoned the executive in charge at Google China Thursday afternoon and announced the country's intention to begin blocking these results.
The blocks affected Chinese-language results from any country, while English-language results were not affected, the office said.
The office also asked Google China to clear out its allegedly pornographic and lewd content promptly.
Chinese Internet authorities urged the search engine to carefully follow the country's laws and regulations, take effective technical and management measures to filter pornographic content from its search results and prevent such information from overseas flowing into China.
The agency said further actions would be taken depending on Google China's implementation of these orders.
Xinhua contacted Google China's office in Beijing for comment Thursday and again Friday, but the telephone number listed on Google's website for that office only offered a voicemail system and was not being answered.
Xinhua has also e-mailed Google's U.S. headquarters for comment.
According to Chinese authorities, the official in charge of Google China, whose name was not released, admitted that a "huge amount of porn and lewd information" had been disseminated by the website, which was a serious violation of Chinese laws and regulations and harmful to minors' physical and psychological health.
The official apologized to the public and promised to rectify the situation and report to Chinese officials promptly on what actions were taken, according to the agency.
The China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center (CIIRC), which is separate from the office conducting the crackdown, Thursday "strongly condemned" the search engine Google's Chinese portal for providing what it said were links to pornography and lewd information that violated national regulations.
The CIIRC said in a statement that Google's Chinese portal was still providing links to many obscene pictures, videos and articles, despite warnings in January and April.
China launched a major crackdown on Internet porn in January targeting popular online portals and major search engines such as Google and Baidu.
In the past month, 1,001 Web sites had been blocked by the authorities for distributing porn and other lewd material, the office said. More than 4,000 web sites that were shut down also had been investigated and those still linking to pornography and lewd content were also punished.
The CIIRC said it would continue its action against pornography and lewd content among web companies that provide services to mobile phones in China as well as other media such as novels, computer games and cartoons.