China blocks 244 new websites in porn crackdown

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has blocked 244 new pornographic websites over the last week, the official Xinhua news agency said, bringing the total number of sites shut down in a campaign against “vulgar” content to over 700.

Many of the targeted websites were unregistered and broke laws about distribution of sexual content, the report said.

China promised last week that the campaign, which Xinhua said is scheduled to last a month, will be no “flash in the pan.” It has been extended to cover content in mobile phone games, online novels and radio programs.

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 Nick Macfie