Chinese Government's "purification of the internet"

Government's primary targets in 'internet purification' remain pornography and gambling

The Chinese government used an announcement of Internet pornography prosecution statistics this week as a further opportunity to caution that online pornography, gambling and "...other sites deemed harmful to society" remained its primary targets in the "purification of the Internet."

Associated Press reports that Beijing's pervasive policing of cyberspace and attempts to block the Internet are already among the world's most stringent.

The Ministry of Public Security said this week the "purification of the Internet" and fighting of online crime are closely tied to the country's stability.

A Ministry spokesman said future efforts would focus on China-based operators of overseas-registered Web sites and companies that provide Internet services, or register domain names, or rent virtual space with 'undesirable' content. The ministry also offered rewards to members of the public who provide useful information in policing efforts.

Critics of the often draconian enforcement tactics adopted by the Chinese say that these often act as a cover for detecting and blocking sensitive political content. Its restrictions of the Internet have been referred to as the "Great Firewall of China."

Many foreign sites have been blocked by China's Internet authorities, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and a host of other media and news Web sites.

Last year, China backed down from a requirement for all new computers to be loaded with a controversial Internet-filtering software known as Green Dam Youth Escort after a major outcry from Chinese citizens and computer companies. Ostensibly, that software had been introduced as a filter against porn.

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