BEIJING—Not content to close or block thousands of internet and mobile sites hosted within the country, China on Monday said that it will soon begin to target servers overseas that contain “serious criminal activity,” meaning porn. Combined with the announcement that it has shut down 140,000 mobile WAP porn sites in the last 5 months, the warning could be seen as a de facto declaration of cyber war against the internet itself.
According to Zhou Huilin, deputy director of the national office against pornographic and illegal publication, more than 150,000 items of lewd content had been deleted from or blocked on the Internet in Beijing during the campaign, and about 310,000 items had been deleted in coastal provinces of Guangdong and Jiangsu.
"In the next stage,” he said, “we'll target serious criminal activity related to porn mobile WAP sites with servers overseas, as many such sites were moving their servers overseas to avoid supervision.”
The campaign to deny its citizens access to sexually-explicit content is imperative for the country, which outlaws the production and distribution of porn but not its possession.
As part of China's latest efforts to curb porn, reports the China Daily, “a judicial interpretation issued last month further clarified that production, replication, publication, sale and spread of obscene electronic information (video) targeted at minors aged under 14 via Internet or mobile WAP sites was a crime.”
The new threat to target overseas servers will not be news to Google, which has said it is preparing to cease operations in the country. In January, the search giant accused China of engaging in corporate espionage after detecting “a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China.” Relations between the company and the country have deteriorated ever since.
Google joined Yahoo, Adobe Systems and Juniper Networks in publicly acknowledging that they have been the victim of China-based cyber attacks. Complaints were lodged with the U.S. State Department, which expressed its concern over the alleged attacks.