Thousands Arrested as China Cracks Down on 'Nasty' Sites

Dennis Faas's picture

Here's a New Year's resolution for designers, writers, and generally anyone associated with skin-trade sites in China: get the heck out of your country. According to a recent report, over five thousand arrests were made by the Communist government during the past year in an effort to stamp out this kind of web content.

The report itself is reliable. How do we know? It came straight from the horse's mouth -- in a statement last week, the Chinese government fully admitted that a sweeping attack against adult-themed content in the country during 2009 had led to the arrest of 5,394 persons and a total of 4,186 criminal investigations. That's four times the number of similar investigations the year before, 2008.

Arrests for 2010 Could be Higher

Defenders of human rights and individual freedoms needn't feel comfortable that this was a one-time deal, either.

Reuters has reported that the Chinese Ministry of Public Security plans on making 2010 another record-breaker for these kinds of arrests, intensifying criminal sentences for any kind of Internet operations it deems illegal. That could include more intensive surveillance of the country's citizens and more pressure on Western companies like Google or Microsoft to play along with the censorship game. (Source:

China Keeps Close Eye on Facebook, Twitter

Those familiar with China's past in online censorship will not be surprised by its work during calendar year 2009. After all, the country has for a long time made a concerted effort to stamp out not only adult-themed content but also anything that might threaten the state's legitimacy. It has even gone so far as to block social networking platforms Twitter, Facebook and even video site YouTube, with user workarounds being more the exception than the rule.

Thus far, several Western firms, most notably Google, have acquiesced to China's plans to take total control over the web's many tubes.

Bounties Offered for Skin Sites

Most surprising may be the way the Chinese are shutting the nasty sites down.

In a communist country, it seems odd that the government would offer a reported 10,000 yuan, or $1,500 USD, for any reports of sites featuring lewdness. But that's exactly what it appears to be doing, as the country moves forward with a policy it says is a necessary piece in the puzzle towards achieving "state security." (Source:

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