BEIJING: A leading BitTorrent (BT) website in China offering free movie and music downloads resumed service Thursday afternoon, a day after it went offline amid fears the authorities had closed it down in a crackdown on online piracy and pornography.
Operators put a notice on the website VeryCD, saying that Wednesday's breakdown was caused by technical failures. With 5 million downloads each year, VeryCD is the largest BT download website in China. BT is a peer-to-peer file sharing agreement.
Users welcomed the website's recovery. One named "toshiyalee" wrote that the one day suspension seemed like a year.
The latest crackdown came after November 24 when Tian Jin, deputy director of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), vowed a wipeout of unlicensed video websites.
Huang Yimeng, co-founder of the website, told the Beijing News that his company was still applying for a license from the authorities, but declined to comment on the future of the company.
Hundreds of similar sites have already been shut down by the SARFT, including download search engine BTChina.net.
BTChina.net has been inaccessible since the weekend. A notice on its website said it had been closed because it did not have a license issued by the SARFT.
Web portal netease.com found that 95.7 percent of around 14,000 Internet users who responded to a poll were opposed to the closure of BT websites.
A commentator on it168.com wrote they had to turn to Internet downloads because tickets at Chinese cinemas were too expensive and many foreign movies were not screened in the mainland.
However, a director of voole.com, which offers paid videos online, said the closure of BTChina.net would encourage the development of copyrighted music and movie products.
Cao Yunxia, of the SARFT's online video and audio program department, said the administration would continue the crackdown while further regulating licensing.
Since 2007, the administration has launched campaigns to clean up websites offering pirated or pornographic video programs.