In a clear warning to spammers that the sending of vast amounts of junk mail will no longer be tolerated, a Shenzhen company has recently been fined 5,000 yuan ($625) for repeatedly spamming netizens since January this year.
The penalty, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, was meted out based on a national anti-spam regulation, "Measures for the Administration of Internet Email Service," which was announced in March.
"The fine will send a warning to spam senders," said Zhang Aiping, vice-director of the Guangdong Provincial Administration of Communication.
This new regulation bans the sending of all junk mail without the recipient's permission, as well as banning all e-mails marked "advertisement" or "AD."
Fines up of to 30,000 yuan (US$3,750) can now be imposed on companies or individuals making money illegally via the sending of junk mail.
Guangdong, south China's economic powerhouse, has been a major victim of junk mail in recent years. Spam in the province accounts for nearly a tenth of the country's total, according to Zhang.
The provincial communication administration launched a campaign against illegal mail in June but Internet users remain convinced that the anti-spam regulation will be strictly enforced.
"I still receive a lot of junk mail," said an annoyed Huang Xiaoqing, a worker in a Guangzhou-based logistic company. "I have to spend a lot of time dealing with it; and viruses attached to these e-mails are a major concern."
Despite a recent crackdown, spamming actually rose in July when compared to previous months, sources with the Internet Society of China (ISC) revealed.
China has 111 million Internet users, second only to the United States and each of them received an average of 16.8 junk mails a week from August 2004 to April 2005. It is estimated by the ISC that Chinese netizens receive more than 50 billion junk mails annually.
Starting next month, key regions across China will be provided with ISC-trained mail service administrators to help improve their firms' defence against spam.
(China Daily August 22, 2006)