China breaks "real-time" porn Web site

BEIJING Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:48am EST

People use computers at an Internet cafe in Changzhi, north China's Shanxi province June 20, 2007. China shut down 44,000 Web sites and homepages and arrested 868 people last year in a campaign against Internet porn which will continue until the end of this year's Beijing Olympics, Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Stringer

People use computers at an Internet cafe in Changzhi, north China's Shanxi province June 20, 2007. China shut down 44,000 Web sites and homepages and arrested 868 people last year in a campaign against Internet porn which will continue until the end of this year's Beijing Olympics, Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have shut down a Web site selling real-time porn and arrested 33 people, state media said on Wednesday, part of a campaign which led to the shut-down of 44,000 Web sites and arrest of 868 people last year.

China launched a crackdown on online pornography and "unhealthy" Web content after Chinese President Hu Jintao said the country's sprawling Internet posed a threat to social stability.

The live site, whose server was based in Taiwan, charged viewers to watch strip shows or other pornographic performances that were staged in China, Xinhua news agency said.

"This operation started up in the second half of 2006 and took in more than 1 million yuan ($137,000) in just three months," it said.

The site was said to have been the most widely visited pornographic site among those that were busted as part of last year's clean-up, Xinhua said.

Chinese authorities shut down 44,000 domestic Web sites and home pages and arrested 868 people while investigating 524 criminal cases during the campaign.

The campaign will continue until September, after the close of the Beijing Olympics.

Rights groups have said the campaign has been used as a thinly veiled pretext to crack down on dissent and round up online dissidents ahead of the Olympics.

China has attempted to stifle online criticism of the ruling Communist Party and discussion related to sensitive topics such as Tibet and Taiwan by ordering Web sites to register with authorities.

China employs tens of thousands of human Internet censors and a vast network of filters to control online information.

China last month said it would crack down on video-sharing Web sites, and allow only state-controlled sites to post video content online in new restrictions effective from January 31.

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