China detains more than 3,000 in porn crackdown

BEIJING Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:45am IST

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have detained some 3,470 people so far this year during a crackdown on online pornography and closed thousands of pornographic websites, state media said on Saturday.

In August, China formally backed down on a plan to pre-install Internet filter software on all new computers sold in the country after an international and domestic outcry.

But the government maintains tight controls over the internet, saying it has to do so to protect young people from bad influences. Activists say it is more to do with stifling criticism of the ruling Communist Party.

The official Xinhua news agency, citing the Ministry of Public Security, said "more than 1.25 million items of online lewd content and nearly 7,000 pornographic websites and columns" had been removed from the internet this year.

"The police also cracked more than 3,500 erotic cases," Xinhua said, without elaborating.

The aim of the campaign was to "purify (the) social environment and protect minors' mental health", the report said.

Despite the harsh words and action, pornography remains relatively easy to obtain in China, mainly in the form of pirated DVDs hawked on street corners.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

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