Over 4,000 illegal websites shut down amid latest internet cleanup campaign



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Online cleaning campaign. Photo: VCG

More than 400,000 vulgar and damaging information has been removed and 4,800 websites have been shut down as part of the China’s Internet Clean-Up Campaign, which was jointly launched by six ministries and departments in June, said Wednesday the ‘National Office against Pornography and Illegal Publications.

The office also urged websites and platforms to get rid of over 20 million vulgar and harmful information and remove over 8 million illegal accounts.

In one example, authorities in Jinhua, east China’s Zhejiang Province, investigated the case of a website disseminating obscene videos and images. Customers have been drawn from online shopping platforms to social media for covert deals. In the case, more than 8,000 videos and 50,000 images were broadcast, reaching over 100,000 people, most of whom were minors and students. The main culprit surnamed Jiang was recently sentenced to six years in prison, while another was sentenced to three years in prison.

The campaign focused on cracking down on chaotic phenomena in entertainment circles, underage addiction to online games and issues such as online behavior that disrupts market order. It also targeted actions that undermine the rights and interests of users, threaten data security and violate regulations on the management of resources and skills.

On May 8, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) revealed a “Clear and Bright” campaign, aimed at cracking down on illegal online behavior, including chaotic phenomena related to the entertainment industry and irrational behavior by fan groups.

On August 27, the ACC specified 10 measures to strengthen the sense of urgency to regulate fan circle culture to protect political and ideological security online, and to oversee platforms to implement the measures. The measures include rescinding all artist ranking lists, banning forums that encourage fights that lead to chaos, and asking agencies to better guide fan groups.

To prevent gambling addiction among minors, the National Press and Publications Administration of China, the country’s media regulator, on August 30 ordered internet gaming companies to provide only one service hours for minors from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, weekends and holidays.

“Since the launch of the campaign, the Internet environment has improved considerably and the order of the network market has become more standardized,” said the head of the office.

However, issues such as value-driven deviation and vulgar content were not completely contained, indicating that the campaign must continue, the person responsible said.

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