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China preps internet porn snitching awards

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China's crackdown on internet pornography and "lewd" content on the web has claimed another 276 websites, the government said on Tuesday, bringing the total number of websites closed to 1,911.

Although officials say they've made "notable progress" in cleansing the internet of smut and pesky dissenting political voices behind its Great Firewall, an unnamed official told the Xinhua new service — believe it or not — some folks are still finding ways of getting around the anti-porn regime.

The official stated that many sites have sidestepped government warnings by changing the offending website's URL or simply the page's appearance.

That's partially why People's Republic authorities are developing a scheme to get the public involved in snitching on internet smut peddlers. Under the program, those who report online porn to regulators would be given unspecified "rewards."

China's nationwide campaign launched earlier this year against websites, video games, mobile text messages, and other forms of digital communication fingered for "violating public morality and harming the physical and mental health of youth and young people."

Of course, covered under the definition of "lewd" is media containing violence, libel, or material that violates the government's standards of public decency. That has many worried the porn side of the purge is a distraction from a cracking down on online political dissent.

Xinhua reported late January that 41 people have been detained in the push for "promulgating porn online."

Even major sites like Google China and Baidu have been pressured to publicly apologize for being too slow to remove links to pornographic materials.

Not everyone's a critic of the porn crackdown. United Nations delegates held their periodic human rights progress panel for China on Monday, where Iran's Farhad Mamdouhi highlighted the "negative effects" of the internet and said China should continue its efforts to combat online porn. ®

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