China Internet video firm punished for porn

BEIJING Thu May 15, 2014 10:14am EDT

BEIJING May 15 (Reuters) - A Chinese web video player service is to be punished for allegedly carrying pornographic material, state media said on Thursday, making it the latest Chinese Internet firm to run afoul of the country's censors.

Shenzhen-based Qvod Technology Co., Ltd., was found to be "spreading lewd and pornographic content" the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications.

Guangdong provincial authorities notified the firm that it would be stripped of its licence for "paid for telecommunication services", Xinhua said, adding that police had launched an investigation and arrested several suspects.

Beijing police found more than 3,000 porn video clips on four servers confiscated from Qvod.com at the end of last year, Xinhua said. Authorities also found a "large amount of porn" on the site and company applications in March.

The company "did not check the safety of content, providing a platform and channel for the spreading of pornographic and other illegal content, seriously harming the mental and physical health of minors. It must therefore be punished severely," Xinhua cited the anti-porn regulator as saying.

The company could not be reached immediately for comment.

In April, China said it had shut down more than 100 websites carrying pornography and closed thousands of accounts on social media sites in a renewed campaign to clean up the Internet.

Chinese Internet firm Sina Corp was stripped of some online publication licences in April for allowing "unhealthy and indecent content" on its online reading channel and on its main website.

The company said authorities had fined it 5.1 million yuan ($815,000), in one of the harshest moves by China's censors.

Pornography is illegal in China, but some overseas critics are concerned that the crackdown on material deemed obscene is part of a government attempt to tighten its grip on the Internet in general, and will be used in broader censorship of websites. (Reporting by Michael Martina; editing by Andrew Roche)

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