China Relaxes on Pornography but YouTube is Still Blocked

It’s been noted by web users in China today that a host of porn websites have suddenly and inexplicably been unblocked by Chinese censors. Additional comments being passed around Twitter are saying that VOA.com, Hootsuite (a Twitter third-party application) and other previously banned sites are also accessible. Malcolm Moore writes on his Telegraph blog:

The question is: why have they turned off the censorship, especially when (a) the Chinese government publicly censured Google for linking to porn sites last year and (b) the authorities are simultaneously cracking down on prostitution in Beijing, Shanghai and Dongguan?

No one knows why there has been a sudden change of heart. The friends who first told me the news speculated that with the recent spate of extreme violence carried out by middle-aged men (the kindergarten stabbings, today’s shoot-out in a court in Hunan), the government might be allowing pornography in order to vent some pent-up testosterone.

Perhaps also, with the closure of hundreds of brothels and saunas, the authorities have deemed the pornography a consolation.

Or perhaps there is a more pragmatic explanation. “It would not be a wild assumption to guess that this is a technical issue with the capacity of the Great Firewall [China’s censorship system],” said Wen Yunchao, an activist in Guangdong.

See also “Porn (and More!) Unblocked, but Why?” from ChinaGeeks.