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China tightens control over text messages
Updated: 2004-07-02 15:48

China has issued new regulations on the filtering of mobile phone short text messages in a move that expands its censorship controls over wireless technologies and the Internet.

The government issued a set of guidelines called "Self-Discipline Standards on Content in Mobile Short Messaging Services" aimed at weeding out pornographic, fraudulent and illicit messages.

The standards provide the framework for China Mobile Corp, China's largest mobile phone service provider, to contract out the policing and filtering of short messages for content deemed unhealthy or fraudulent.

So far 10 such companies have begun the policing work in 20 categories of content that are spelt out in an earlier agreement or "treaty" on content between the government and Internet Service Providers.

Over 220 billion text messages were sent in China in 2003, comprising about 55 percent of the world's text messages.

One in four Chinese people will have a mobile phone by the end of the year, as the world's most populous country consolidates its status as the largest mobile phone market.

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