A blacklist of 19 leading search engine portals and websites, including Google and Baidu, that "spread pornography or vulgar content, and threaten the morals of young people" has been published, the Chinese government said Monday.According to Xinhua News Agency, six central agencies, led by the Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, conducted an intensified month-long campaign to clean up the Internet of unhealthy, vulgar and porn materials."The government will continue to expose, punish or even shut down those infamous Web sites that refuse to correct their wrongdoing," Cai Mingzhao, deputy director of the State Council Information Office, said.
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"Pornography is banned in China and websites that feature erotic content are morally offensive," Huang Chengqing, deputy secretary-general of the Internet Society of China, said.
The China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center demanded the web portals, a number of video sharing sites and bulletin boards, including Sina, Sohu and Net Ease, Google in Chinese and other websites to remove sexually-explicit photos after due notice but they failed and continued providing links to obscene sites.
Google China's spokeswoman Cui Jin, however, explained that "Google is neither the owner of those Web sites and porn nor does it spread (that) information intentionally.
We have also adopted 'safe search' as the default setting, which automatically blocks sites with such content." Baidu, Net
Inc and SINA Corp., in web statements on Wednesday, admitted their guilt, and apologized for failing to curb "porn" content.
Google's China, on the other hand vowed to cooperate with Internet users and society to help establish a healthy Internet culture.
"After we received notice from relevant government departments ...
(we) cleaned up links to vulgar content that could have adverse effects on Internet users," it added.
Sohu, and Tencent, the most popular free instant messaging computer program in Mainland China, and the world’s third most popular IM service, as well as an internet portal, apologized separately late Tuesday.
China's Criminal Law penalizes distribution of pornographic and obscene publications, videos, articles for nonprofit use with a maximum of two years imprisonment.
However, the law is vague on the definition of "distributing vulgar materials." Beijing Internet management office, staff, Wang Qiang, on Wednesday said "they were working on punishment schemes for the more vague charge of spreading vulgar images." In June 2008, China had more than 253 million Internet users, according to Xinhua. State Department stated that "China had increased its efforts to control and censor the Internet, and the government had tightened restrictions on freedom of speech and the domestic press and bloggers." In 1996 Chinese Internet users were required to "sign a set of rules that makes it illegal for users to produce or receive pornography." In 2007 the public security ministry declared it would curb porn, online strip shows, including even erotic stories.