SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China shut as many as 128,000 websites that contained obscene and other “harmful” information in 2017, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Monday, citing government data.
Xinhua said 30.9 million illegal publications were confiscated over the course of 2017, while 1,900 people were subject to criminal penalties, according to figures from the national office in charge of combating pornography and illegal publications.
China has been tightening controls over internet content as part of efforts to maintain “social stability”, taking on “vulgar” and pornographic content as well as the unauthorised dissemination of news.
Last year, major portals run by Tencent (0700.HK), Baidu BIDO.O and Weibo (WB.O) were reprimanded and fined by China’s internet regulator for failing to properly censor content ahead of a major conference of the Chinese Communist Party.
China has also forced overseas journals to remove access to sensitive papers and book reviews on topics such as Tibet, Taiwan and the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square as part of its efforts to strengthen controls over academia.
Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Michael Perry