China Fines Internet Firms for Spreading Porn and Violence

Illustration by: Lars Leetaru

The Ministry of Culture will punish 11 companie, including Tencent and Baidu, Xinhua reports

China's culture ministry is planning to punish 11 Internet firms for spreading pornography, violence and gambling, including the online service Tencent and the search giant Baidu.

Tencent and Baidu's mobile game platforms and another nine Internet companies were reportedly involved in pornography, gambling and violence, according to a ministry statement carried by the official news agency Xinhua.

China has been running an anti-pornography campaign in April, called "Cleaning the Web 2014," a move which could impact Hollywood movies and imported TV shows. The government has also been cracking down on freedom of expression online.

It said some products had challenged "accepted moral values."

The companies will be fined and the amounts published later, Liu Qiang, a deputy director in the market department of the ministry, told Xinhua.

Liu said the culture ministry would set up a blacklist of companies that repeatedly break rules and impose harsher punishments on them.

"We hope that major companies can shoulder their due social responsibilities and offer healthy, quality, cultural products," the official was quoted as saying.

In May, the internet firm Sina Corp. was fined $830,000 for allowing "unhealthy and indecent content" on its online reading channel and on its main website.

The ministry statement also criticized comic and animated products on 21 websites provided by companies, including China Telecom and Tencent, for containing scenes of blood, terror and violence.

It said some content was intentionally playing the pornography card, challenging accepted moral values.

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