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Nationwide Crackdown on 'Phone Sex' Services

China is carrying out a nationwide campaign to crack down on phone sex services, paralleling another sweeping operation against Internet pornography, Minister of Information Industry Wang Xudong said in Beijing Tuesday.

The move, started in late July and lasting through October, was jointly launched by a number of central government departments: the Ministry of Information Industry, the Ministry of Public Security, the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the State Administration of Press and Publications, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Supreme People's Court and the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council.

"With the rapid development of the paid call service market in China, some lawbreakers make use of this form to spread obscene information and even conduct prostitution," said Wang during a teleconference with local leaders across the nation.

"This depraves social morals, and especially brings great harm to the country's young minds," said Wang, adding that the move would clean up the country's paid call service and ensure a wholesome development of the market.

Wang ordered local governments across the country to shut down phone sex operators and severely punish the responsible organizations by October 1.

After that, all local governments are required to submit reports on their actions in the campaign while continuing the crackdown and establishing a long-term mechanism for supervision and regulation.

Also during the summer, China launched another sweeping campaign to crack down on Internet pornography. So far, police have closed down about 700 porn websites and arrested 329 suspects.

Porn websites have proliferated in recent years, harming the physical and mental health of the young people, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

The campaign mainly aims to crack down on websites offering lewd pictures, videos, movies and articles, as well as those that attract Internet users to join in pornographic activities online or in real life.

(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2004)

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