June 19, 2009

China Demands Google Step Up Indecency Blockage

State media in China reported that authorities had shut down some of Google's search services because of indecent material, leading the Internet giant to announce on Friday it would work harder to eliminate pornography from its Chinese Web pages, AFP reported.

Google said in a statement it has continually taken measures against vulgar content on the Internet in China, especially against material that is harmful to children.

"Google is currently stepping up its efforts in this regard," the statement said.

The Chinese agency tasked with fighting online porn has already "stopped some of Google China's searching businesses and asked it to clear up its lewd content," according to reports from Xinhua news agency.

Xinhua said the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center (CIIRC) ordered Google China to suspend its overseas web page searching services and associated word-search services.

Google China was called out by the center on Thursday, which said it was continuing to facilitate searches for pornographic material.

The watchdog group said in a statement: "Google China's website has not installed filters to block pornography in accordance with the laws and regulations of our nation."

It went on to say that the center strongly condemns Google China and demanded that it must thoroughly clean up the pornographic and vulgar content available on its search returns.

The Chinese government has stood firm in its overall intent to clean up Internet content that it deems unhealthy, including information critical of Chinese authorities and pornography.

In a move that has been considered controversial around the world, the Chinese government recently notified computer makers that all personal computers sold from July 1 must be shipped with anti-pornography software.

With nearly 300 million web users, China has the largest online population in the world.

But in a censorship system that has been dubbed the "Great firewall of China," authorities have historically blocked websites they deem to be offensive or politically unacceptable.

Beijing also plans to recruit an "army of tens of thousands of volunteers" to scour the Internet for porn and report back to authorities in the capital, the Xinhua agency reported on Friday.


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