China is launching a national campaign to crack down on books, videos and websites publicizing sex and violence after teachers and parents voice concerns for children, said China's press watchdog.
After a discussion meeting on Thursday, the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) and the National Office of Anti-Pornography and Anti-Illegal Publications agreed to step up supervision over book sellers near schools and on websites.
Previously, the groups only patrolled certain areas. Now their campaign to get rid of materials containing sex and violence will be carried out nationwide.
Ji Hongjie, a teacher of politics at the Beijing No. 2 Middle School expressed anxiety at increased Internet use by her students at Thursday's meeting in Beijing.
"Teenagers, in general, have strong curiosity. Continuous access to websites with sex ads will allure them to try it," Ji said.
Sun Fengying, a mother, was struggling to make correct decisions for her child.
"As parents, we don't want to forbid our kids from surfing the Internet as we don't want to see them lag behind others, but there are far too many inappropriate pictures and information on websites," said Sun.
Li Qimin, deputy secretary general of the China National Committee for the Wellbeing of the Youths, agreed. He called on the government and the public to pay more attention to how children could be influenced by reading materials filled with sex and violence.
In a survey of juvenile delinquents in the southwestern Sichuan Province, Li and his colleagues found that more than 93 percent had read about or seen books, videos and websites promoting sex or violence.
"These publications circulating in the market are really harmful to children," Li said. "There are few healthy publications out there that children are interested in."
The reason children have more access to morally questionable materials is that China's publishing industry has become more developed, pirated DVDs are being illegally sold and there is greater Internet access.
In the past two years, the National Office of Anti-Pornography and Anti-Illegal Publications confiscated more than 100 million illegal books, magazines and videos. It also deleted half a million pieces of questionable information on websites.
Both organizations said they would continue to supervise bookstores and stands around schools and confiscate books, videos and software they deem inappropriate for children. Their definition of what is and isn't suitable has not been released.
Li Baozhong, deputy director of the anti-pornography office, told Xinhua, "protection of teenagers is a cause which requires not only strong measures from the government but also full cooperation from all walks of society."
(Xinhua News Agency November 22, 2008)