China Shuts Down 162 Websites

BEIJING -- Continuing an Internet purge that began with the new year, the Chinese government has shut down 162 websites that allegedly contain "lewd" content.

According to the government's Xinhua news service, the Special Operation Office for Crackdown on Online Porn and Lewd Content stated that the offending sites did not have permits from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television to broadcast audio and video material,


The closed sites, mainly based in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong Provinces, include and

The SARFT and other agencies have blocked 341 audio and video sites since January. The number of blocked websites alleged to contain pornographic content number more than a thousand. The SARFT also has told all websites not to post non-sanctioned, uncensored TV programs.

Last week, YouTube was blocked in China because of footage that showed Chinese soldiers beating and torturing Tibetan monks and citizens. 

A spokesman for the Chinese consulate in San Francisco told AFP news he had no information about the YouTube block. Xinhua reports an unidentified government called the footage "lies" from supporters of the Dalai Lama created to "deceive the international community."

YouTube access was cut off in China in March 2008 after clips on the site showed protests in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and extreme actions taken by government troops.

The Paris-based advocacy journalism group Reporters Without Borders has named China an "enemy of the Internet" and called its Web "the largest prison in the world for cyber-dissidents."

Meanwhile, Google launched free music downloads in China Monday, reports TechDirt. Backed by more than 140 record labels, the service offers a search engine linked to a library of advertiser-supported music files.