China’s state-run media announced yesterday that the government has punished 422 websites it alleges violated its ban on online pornography.

Xinhua reported (if that is the correct term) that news of the investigation and punishment of the sites was delivered via the State Internet Information Office.

“Since the beginning of this year,” it added, “the office has closed more than 4,800 accounts on social networking services including WeChat, Weibo, blogs and online forums. More than 9,000 advertisements and over 300,000 pieces of information with pornographic content were deleted.”

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The “Cleaning the Web 2014” campaign scheduled to last from April to November, is in response to the persistent spread of pornography online despite multiple previous crackdowns.

It is an obvious violation of the law to spread pornography online as it greatly harms minors and the social ethos.

The campaign is not an aim, but a mean to mobilize the entire society and coordinate all the forces of government departments to solve outstanding problems in relatively short time, said an official in charge of the office.

The office has been encouraging Internet users to report pornography, and most of the cases are based on reports by netizens, he said, adding that the office receives more than 3,000 reports every day.

“Websites should also shoulder their responsibilities, strengthen self-management and checks of content.”

The persistent existence of online pornography is partly due to the pursuit of economic interest. The development of mobile Internet also provides room for online pornography, he said.

Authorities will promote a long-term mechanism to strengthen management of the Internet, the official said. He urged Internet information authorities at all levels to enhance management of web portals.

Websites should also shoulder their responsibilities, strengthen self-management and checks of content, he said.

“The persistent existence of online pornography is partly due to the pursuit of economic interest,” the article reported the official as saying.

“The development of mobile Internet also provides room for online pornography.”

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