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China has ordered telcos to purge spam SMSes of smut and other "unhealthy" influences, including "superstitious content" like fortune telling. The Ministry of Information Industry made the pronouncement today on its website which declared: "Recently, there has been a lot of dirt hidden in the telecommunication networks. The situation is serious."

The latest threat to the stability of Chinese society are mass spam texts punted to the country's 350 million mobile users. The powers that be reckon they regularly contain pornographic content or sex chat which has "polluted society and spread very bad influence".

According to Beijing News, the ministry will monitor operators' activities in October and fine transgressors.

This new clampdown on subversion follows last month's kick in the 'nads for Chinese bloggers. The government ruled that "any organisation or individual must register with the authorities before providing news or operating an email distribution list" as part of the ongoing "smokeless war" against "unhealthy news stories that will easily mislead the public".

The authorities justified the new regulations thus: "The foremost responsibility of news sites on the Internet is to serve the people, serve socialism, guide public opinion in the right direction, and uphold the interests of the country and the public good." Huzzah! ®

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