China extends "lewd" crackdown to mobile phones

A man talks on the mobile phone outside the Shenzhen Stocks Exchange opposite to the 384-metre (1,260 ft) tall skyscraper at Shun Hing Square in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in Guangdong province November 25, 2008. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has extended a crackdown on electronic porn to the country’s mobile phones, after shutting down 1,250 websites because of their explicit content, the official Xinhua agency said Wednesday.

“We will incorporate ‘lewd’ messages spread via mobile phones into the crackdown,” the report quoted a joint notice from the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Culture and five other government offices saying.

China promised last week that the campaign, which was launched in early January, will be no “flash in the pan.”

Over 40 people have been detained for disseminating porn on the Internet, and over 3 million “items of online information” have been deleted, the report said.

Google, Baidu and other major websites have also been given a public dressing down for not being quick enough to wipe out targeted content, and outspoken blogging portals shut down for posting “politically harmful information.”

The Internet crackdown has been described by analysts as another step in the Communist Party’s battle to stifle dissent in a year of sensitive anniversaries, including the 20th anniversary of the government’s bloody crackdown on the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

Reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani