China Targets Big Websites in Internet Crackdown (Updated)

According to Reuters, Chinese websites containing profane or pornographic content will be subject to government crackdown:

China has launched a crackdown against major websites that officials accused of threatening morals by spreading pornography and vulgarity, including the dominant search engines Google (GOOG.O) and Baidu (BIDU.O).

China’s Ministry of Public Security and six other government agencies announced the campaign at a meeting on Monday, state television reported, showing officials hauling digital equipment away from one unidentified office.

[…]China’s ruling Communist Party is wary of threats to its grip on information and has launched many such censorship efforts before, targeting pornography, political criticism and web scams. But officials flagged tougher steps this time.

Danwei provides a list of the websites in question. Popular Chinese websites such as Sina, Souhu, Netease, and Mop are among the listed offenders:

China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center (中国互联网违法和不良信息举报中心), under the Internet Society of China, has announced a list of websites which contain “large amounts of low and vulgar content that violates social morality and damages the physical and mental health of youths.”

Each website listed is annotated with either a remark that the website had been given a notice, but didn’t take effective action to clean up its content, or that it did not quickly delete newly added vulgar and low content.

Google and Baidu were both censured for not taking effective action, while all the other websites on the list did not quickly delete offensive content.

Listen to this report from Public Radio International’s The World.

Update: Read also two posts from Rebecca MacKinnon about this new crackdown and government efforts to make the Internet more “harmonious”: “China’s latest Internet crackdown” and “Ladies and Gentlemen… China’s Netizen Day…