The latest campaign to clean up cyberspace was launched yesterday by the government.
According to a notice jointly released by 12 ministries taking part in the scheme - among them the State Administration for Industry & Commerce and the Ministry of Health - the campaign aims to curb the growing number of illegal advertisements for sex-related health supplements, STD drugs and clinics, and sex toys.
It is scheduled to run through next February.
Tough punishments will be meted out to medical institutions and clinics that boast online of special cures for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) that have not been approved or licensed by the health authorities, the notice said.
It added that approved STD hospitals will have their licenses revoked if they advertise online without first getting the appropriate approval.
The same punishment will apply to those who publish revised versions of their adverts without first getting permission, it said.
Companies that use sexually suggestive advertisements to promote sex drugs face having their businesses suspended, the notice said.
In addition, agencies that design, make and release "vulgar" advertisements will be dealt with in accordance with the law on advertising, it said.
Those that are found to have seriously violated the law or the new regulation could be stripped of their right to operate in the advertising business, the notice said.
Websites that host illegal advertisements must remove them immediately once they are told to do so by the authorities. Those that do not do so will be closed down, the notice said.
It urged websites owned and operated by government departments and civil societies to take the lead in curbing such advertisements.
Health administrations and drug agencies have also been instructed to closely monitor online advertisements involving drugs and hospitals and report all offensive ones to the relevant authorities, the notice said.
In September, the government initiated a series of measures to rid all print and broadcast media of advertisements related to sex drugs and STD remedies.
(China Daily December 18, 2007)