China Threatens Internet Porn Merchants with Life
BEIJING (Reuters) - China has intensified its battle against Internet and mobile phone pornography by threatening distributors with life in prison, Xinhua news agency said.
"Depending on the seriousness of the cases, the sentences range from living under compulsory surveillance, detainment, taking into custody by the police, to various terms of imprisonment and life imprisonment," Xinhua said.
Beijing has stepped up its battle against smut in recent weeks, saying it is worried that the easy access to such material on the Internet and elsewhere will have a bad effect on youth and society.
Under the latest crackdown, which started in July, authorities have shut down hundreds of Web sites and arrested more than 300 people.
The new penalties were laid out on Sunday in guidelines issued by China's Supreme People's Court and the office of the country's top prosecutor, Xinhua said.
A pornographic Web site that had been clicked on more than 250,000 times would be considered a "very severe" case that could warrant a life sentence for its producers, Xinhua said. It did not elaborate.
China's communist rulers have gradually relaxed the puritanical rule they imposed when they swept to power in 1949, but sporadically try to crack down on the sex industry and are particularly nervous about pornography on the Internet.