The suspects were reportedly arrested for using chat rooms to find talent for adult films, according to the public security ministry.
“This behavior has severely polluted the Internet environment, done harm to juvenile physical and mental health and caused strong public anger,” the ministry told the local Xinhua news agency today.
According to a Xinhua report, the arrests were the result of a joint effort by the Ministry of Information Industry, the Ministry of Public Security and the Information Office of the State Council, who apparently collected 1,568 “pieces of evidence” against the suspects.
The ministry was not specific as to what the evidence in question was, but said it would continue to arrest suspects and shutdown websites that produced “anti-government” content or other material that could “incite unrest.”
China’s Internet population has exploded in recent years, and it is estimated that over 100 million Chinese citizens now use the Internet, making it second only to the United States in terms of a country’s online population.
The news of China’s crackdown on chat rooms comes just a day after portal giant Yahoo announced new restrictions on its own chat space. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company is pulling the plug on any of its chat rooms that promote sex with minors, and has also announced plans to make adult chats in its network more restrictive in the hopes that fewer minors will be able to access adults-only rooms.