China's anti-porn drive to run until May

 @ibtimes
on December 16 2009 9:08 AM

The Chinese government's latest campaign against pornography on the Internet and through mobile WAP sites will continue through May next year, with an emphasis on breaking the business that support the sites, the Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.

An anti-pornography drive since last summer has also netted many sites with politically sensitive or even simply user-generated content, in what many see as an effort by the Chinese government to reassert control over new media and its potential for citizens sharing information and organizing.

The website of a Chinese-language newspaper, Singapore Press Holding's Lianhe Zaobao, was blocked this week in China after it ran an article about China's tightening controls on the Internet.

The government will draft regulations covering WAP sites, which provide Internet service for mobile phones, before March next year, Xinhua said, citing a statement from the central government office in charge of fighting illegal publications and pornography. The statement has not yet been publicly released.

During the campaign, the government will make it harder to register WAP sites and verify their registration information, the statement said.

It aimed to crack the interest chain behind pornographic WAP sites, including third-party payment providers, and would clarify the responsibilities of websites, telecom firms, access providers and content providers to curb pornography, it said.

If they do not take up proper actions, they will be held for the breach of duty. In those serious cases, the corporate representatives will be forced to apologies to the public and promise to correct their wrong-doings in public, the statement said, according to Xinhua.

It will also ban WAP sites from setting up an access authorization system to escape regulation, the statement said.

Widespread protests in Iran last summer alerted China to the potential for protesters and dissidents to use social media to spread their message.

China has banned Google's Youtube since March, when a Tibetan exile film documenting the injuries and death of a Tibetan protestor was published on the video sharing site.

It banned Twitter, Flickr and Facebook this summer, and last week revoked permission for Hong Kong-based Sun TV, owned by Hong Kong-listed Sun Television Cybernetworks Enterprise to air in the mainland.

In addition to pornography, the government says it is also targeting rampant piracy of entertainment content in China. It recently shut some Chinese sites popular for downloading music and movies.

The entire western region of Xinjiang, home to more than 19 million people, has been without Internet or international telephone access since deadly ethnic riots rent its capital, Urumqi, in July.

(Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

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