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China rattles sabre at Google

New clampdown on 'vulgar' content

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China has announced a new clampdown on websites accused of "threatening morals by spreading pornography and vulgarity" - including Baidu, Google and Sina.com.

China's Ministry of Public Security and six other government agencies today launched a "nationwide campaign to clean up a vulgar current on the internet and named and exposed a large number of violating public morality and harming the physical and mental health of youth and young people", as state television put it.

The crackdown is specifically targeting 19 'internet operators' and sites which had failed to excise "vulgar" content. TV reports showed "officials hauling digital equipment away from one unidentified office", Reuters explains.

Cai Mingzhao, a deputy chief of the State Council Information Office, said: "Some websites have exploited loopholes in laws and regulations. They have used all kinds of ways to distribute content that is low-class, crude and even vulgar, gravely damaging mores on the internet."

Cui Jin, a China-based PR official for Google and Sun Yao, Baidu's PR rep both declined to comment to Reuters, insisting they were "unaware of the announcement". ®

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