Four sentenced for online porn
Four men were sentenced to termed imprisonment Thursday in Beijing for creating and profiting from pornographic websites.
Liang Hongbin, Li Yufei, Yu Jianhong, and Chen Dong's pornographic operation was cracked down in August, 2004.
The case is the first online por-nographic case in China since the country kicked off a national fight against pornographic websites in mid-2004.
The judgment by the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court sentenced the young men to prison for a period between one and a half to two and a half years.
The judgment said Liang, an Internet engineer, and Li Yufei, an unemployed man, rented an Internet server in Beijing in May, 2004.
They signed a contract with Yu Jianhong and Chen Dong, who jointly operated websites of more than 20 pornographic movies.
Yu and Chen moved their websites to the server owned by Liang and Li.
They then set up a special item on their server and websites directing people who wanted to download and watch the online movies to receive the entry password by sending a message from their mobile phones.
Access to the sites, however, came with a fee.
Their sites received a total of 16,000 hits up to July, 12, 2004, with a 16,000 yuan (US$1,927) profit for the four men aged 20 to 25, all from Central China's Henan Province.
The case was judged according to the No 363 Article of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, in which spreading and profiting from pornographic material is deemed a criminal activity.
The fact that some of the four men did not even know one another, was a curious point to the case's judge surnamed Liu.
All business communication conducted by the four was via the Internet.
Liu urged all sides, including law-makers, Internet supervisors, and even the public, to pay more attention to cleaning up the Internet.
China encourages Internet use for education and business but bans pornographic websites and tries to block access to foreign pornographic sites.
Some 445 people have been arrested and 1,125 websites have been shut down with the help of public tips since July, reported the Ministry of Public Security.
China's police ministry also handed out rewards of up to US$240 to people who reported illegal Internet activity, in a campaign to stamp out online pornography.
Earlier, Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang said in July the people's war against pornographic websites will help curb the spread of pornographic activities online and bolster the more regular and orderly development of the country's Internet service.
He noted that pornographic activities have been rampant online in recent years, and have severely damaged social style, polluted the social environment, and harmed the physical and psychological health of young people.