(Recasts on order against Google)
BEIJING, June 19 China's Internet watchdog on
Friday ordered Google (GOOG.O) to stop overseas websites with
"pornographic and vulgar" content from being accessed through
its Chinese-language search engine.
The China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre had
told Google to "make immediate changes" and clean up the
content available through its search engine (www.google.cn),
the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The targetting of Google illustrates the difficulties faced
by foreign Internet firms doing business in the world's largest
online market while avoiding charges of censorship.
In an emailed statement, Google said it met with government
officials to discuss the problem of "pornographic content and
material that is harmful to children on the web in China".
"We are undertaking a thorough review of our service and
taking all necessary steps to fix any problems with our
results. We believe we have addressed a large majority of the
problem results," the statement said.
The order came a day after Chinese state television blasted
Google and the centre denounced it for allowing "foreign
Internet pornographic information".
The Chinese government recently ordered all new personal
computers to carry Green Dam filtering software designed to
block pornographic Internet content from July 1, leading to
fears China was using its campaign to protect children from
"unhealthy" content as a way of tightening censorship.
Google has been "ordered to comply with China's laws and
regulations and completely filter pornographic content to
prevent pornographic material from entering from overseas",
The order coincides with plans by the city of Beijing to
recruit tens of thousands of volunteers to monitor the
The volunteers would be asked to report to the authorities
if they came across "lewd" content or find Internet users
exhibiting "uncivilised behaviour" when surfing the Internet,
Earlier this week, local media reported the city is
developing its own Internet filtering software. That software,
like Green Dam, is billed as a measure against pornography.
"The aim is to shield the minors from unwanted harm they
might be subjected to on the Internet," an official surnamed
Zhou from the Capital Enhancement Committee Office was quoted
Some volunteers would be placed in Internet cafes to stop
minors from entering and to monitor content, he said.
China already employs an army of Internet censors, who
identify websites to be blocked and monitor chat rooms for any
content deemed inappropriate or subversive.
(Reporting by Kirby Chien, Lucy Hornby and Yu Le, Editing by