China Now Cracks Down on Porn Star Recruiters

Rhett Pardon
BEIJING — Chinese police now are intensifying their crackdown on Internet obscenity by targeting individuals that recruit others to participate in porn videos.

Authorities in the past three months have arrested 101 individuals who have set up chatrooms to find future porn stars. The government also said it closed three websites since August, calling the sites “anti-government” and capable of “potentially inciting unrest.”

China’s anti-obscenity mission continues as online growth in the country climbs exponentially and enforcement becomes harder to maintain, despite an army of cyber police that tracks, patrols, monitors and block websites and email. China had nearly 620,000 PC users in 1997 and now have more than 100 million users — the world’s second largest Internet market after the U.S.

Considering it “subversive” or “unhealthy for the population,” Chinese leaders claim that obscenity “has severely polluted the Internet environment, done harm to juveniles’ physical and mental health and caused strong public anger,” according to Xinhua News Agency, the country’s official news bureau.

Earlier this year, China required website operators to register with authorities. And Communist leaders last month imposed a set of strict new regulations on Internet news content, including bloggers who now have to register with the government.

China also now is requiring companies that disseminate news to China’s 200 million cell phone customers using SMS, short message service technology, to register with officials.

Even students logging on to university online discussion groups must register using their government-issued ID.

The country routinely blocks access to Internet sites on sensitive subjects such as self-ruled Taiwan, which China regards as its own. And online service firms from domestic players Sina Corp. and Sohu.com to foreign firms such as Yahoo Inc. practice forms of self-censorship by blocking sites and prohibiting message posting on sensitive topics.