Chinese Officials Make Sweeping Porn Arrests

Gretchen Gallen
BEIJING – In a follow-up to China's pledge to wipe the Internet clean of porn, government officials announced Monday that 1,125 websites have been shut down and 445 persons allegedly affiliated with operating porn sites have been taken into custody since the Communist government launched its anti-porn campaign.

China's denouncement of porn came in June as part of a growing concern that its youth was being corrupted by easy access to pornography and graphic sexual material. The Chinese government's stance against porn and youth corruption also includes gambling, and so far 290 additional websites associated with gambling or fraud have been closed.

China is enforcing its position against porn with a bounty of $240 for anyone thought to be involved in operating a porn website based in China. News of the porn bounty has set off a flurry of arrests since July and hundreds of alleged pornographers have been turned in based on tips from family, friends and snitches.

The anti-porn task force includes the combined manpower of five Chinese ministries and government departments and has had far-reaching implications for telecommunications companies like China Telecom, China Mobile and web portal portals Sohu.com and Sina Corp., which have served as facilitators for the Chinese porn industry.

So far, no official number on how many actual rewards have been paid to Chinese citizens has yet been released.

China is also attempting to include many other forms of entertainment in its porn ban, including television programming and video game content.

The Chinese government has said that if a porn website has had more than 250,000 visitors, the site's owner could be sent to jail for life. The government issued the warning in September with an Oct. 1 deadline, the National Day holiday marking the birth of the People’s Republic.

The life sentence, according to officials, would apply to anyone involved in the dissemination of porn over the Internet or mobile devices.

Last month, a student convicted of running a porn website was sentenced to five years in prisonby a Chinese court.