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42 Arrested in Porn Campaign

Forty-two people have been arrested, hundreds of computers seized and five bank accounts frozen to date during a local campaign against Internet porn that began on July 9, police announced Sunday.

Zhang Jiaying, a spokeswoman for the Shanghai Public Security Bureau said the operation was launched in response to an appeal from the State Council and the Ministry of Public Security to crack down on Internet pornography and promote the healthy growth of youth.

"We have won a victory in the preliminary phase," she added.

The government has set up rules to try to protect children from online smut, such as banning anyone under the age of 18 from entering an Internet cafe and setting up filtering systems on public computers to block pornographic Websites.

"However, pornography, like spiritual heroin, is licking up the young generation who are both curious and vulnerable," Zhang said.

In view of this, a new Website sponsored by the State Council was opened in Beijing on June 10 for members of the public to report any illegal or pornographic Internet sites.

The site reportedly attracts an average of 4 million visitors daily.

During its first three days in operation, the site received 4,603 tips, 95 percent of which were related to pornographic Websites.

Local police say they have made arrests in 13 online porn cases since their campaign began just 10 days ago.

On July 10, they raided an apartment that housed Shanghai Linkboat Internet Technology Company. Three managers identified as Luo, Yu and Chen were taken into custody on suspicion of duplicating, producing and spreading pornography via the Internet.

Police allege the trio had set up a porn site and were charging visitors membership fees.

In another case, three brothers surnamed Li reportedly established a software-downloading Website in 2003 and began to display pornographic films at the end of last year to "publicize their Website and become more wealthy."

"They obtained more than 130,000 yuan (US$15,663) in illicit profits before the Website was shut down," said Zhang.

Police allege the well-organized company illegally applied for the installation of a satellite television receiver and opened a "Midnight Theater" online.

It employed special technicians to select and edit foreign pornographic films, which were then offered to site members to download.

During the local campaign, police have confiscated 170 servers and 17 computers, according to Zhang.

(Shanghai Daily July 19, 2004)

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