A national campaign to crack down on pornographic websites has achieved visible results, officials said yesterday, but they admit there is still a long way to go.
During May's month-long campaign, which was a joint effort by 10 ministries, more than 300 domestic porn and salacious websites were shut down.
Describing the campaign as a "people's war", Li Baozhong, head of the government's press watchdog, attributed the success to improved surveillance and tip-offs from members of a supportive public.
"As well as the monitoring work done by public security departments, we received at least seven tip-offs from the public every day via our 24-hour hotline," Li, who is director of the market supervision and administration bureau under the General Administration of Press and Publication, said.
Li, who is also deputy director of the national anti-pornography and anti-piracy office, said that over the past month his office had blocked more than 4,000 porn links and filtered out more than 10,000 online porn games across the country.
"Determined to protect their huge profits, porn distributors will do anything to avoid detection," Li said.
"They are becoming more and more insidious," he said.
Two weeks ago, officials in Beijing discovered a pornographic program disguised as a set up file for a legitimate program.
Once opened, the file would automatically install thousands of obscene novels, videos and cartoons on the user's computer.
"It is a constant battle to uncover the latest tricks," Li said.
The Ministry of the Public Security said that as of yesterday, the nationwide campaign had succeeded in blocking some 10,200 links to pornographic material.
However, Li said that at present, the campaign could only combat websites that were registered in China. Porn websites based overseas were still online, he said.
In a bid to halt their activities, China's bank transaction regulator has been asked to join the campaign.
Speaking at a conference in May on the porn issue, Liu Binjie said: "More effort, as well as technological support, is needed to tackle the problem."
A new system, which will limit the amount of time juveniles are allowed to spend online, as well as controlling access to certain types of content, is currently being developed and is expected to be launched next month.
As of January, China had 137 million Internet users.
(China Daily June 5, 2007)