BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese government will offer greater cash rewards to people reporting online smut after handing out 224,000 yuan ($32,810) as of late last week, state media said on Monday.
China has run a highly publicised campaign against what officials said were banned smutty and lewd pictures overwhelming the country’s Internet and threatening the emotional health of children.
In the period from Dec. 4 to Jan. 15, the National Anti-Pornography and Anti-Illegal Publications Office, along with the publishing watchdog, received more than 90,000 reports about base or lewd websites, Xinhua news agency said.
A total of 215 people had been given a total of 224,000 yuan in reward money for reporting the sites, with rewards ranging from 1,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan, Xinhua added.
Sites shut down included “Lilac adult community”, “Free strongly-emotional films” and “Naked chat bar”, it said.
Authorities will now “offer even more money to those who report, to encourage people to proactively participate”, Xinhua said.
In 2009, authorities closed or blocked more than 15,000 pornographic websites, including over 11,000 mobile WAP sites, the report added.
With an estimated 384 million Internet users, China has a bigger online population than any other country. But the ruling Communist Party worries the Internet could become a dangerous conduit for threatening images and ideas.
The anti-pornography drive has also netted many sites with politically sensitive or even simply user-generated content, in what some see as an effort by the government to reassert control over new media.
China has banned a number of popular websites and Internet services, including Google’s Youtube, Twitter, Flickr and Facebook, as well as Chinese content sharing sites.
Google Inc announced last week it was no longer willing to continue censoring Internet search results in China and that it may shut down the google.cn website and close its offices in the country, triggering a diplomatic storm.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)