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Chinese smut site boss gets 10 years in the slammer

World's strictest web censorship laws try to put Jiarong, er, right

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A man in China has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for running a US-hosted porn site as the Communist Party continues its crackdown on illegal content.

The Orwellian-sounding National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications announced to the state-run Xinhua news agency that Sheng Jiarong, of Qingdao city in eastern China’s Shandong Province, was snared in an anti-smut raid in early 2011.

This piece of government propaganda, no doubt intended to serve as a warning to all those would-be porn purveyors in the People’s Republic, claimed the authorities are getting better at sniffing out homegrown sites that use servers outside the country to host illegal content.

Jiarong’s site was found to feature 703 pornographic pics, 99 videos and a whopping 9,111 erotic e-books. As well as facing a decade behind bars, Jiarong was apparently fined 20,000 yuan (£2,000).

Given that China has some of the strictest web censorship laws in the world and one of the most widespread and advanced content filtering systems to enforce those laws, Jiarong was on a hiding to nothing.

A report from think tank the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences claimed in July that the number of websites in China almost halved during 2010, partly as a result of tighter laws on "harmful" content.

The authorities periodically get tough on pornography, internet fraud and other unacceptable online activities, most recently in November 2011 when they forced China’s biggest tech firms to “strengthen self-control, self-restraint and strict self-discipline” online.

As was discovered last week though, Chinese citizens are free to talk about sex as long as they are 38-year-old virgins promoting abstinence until marriage. ®

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