BEIJING - First, there were website closures en masse, and now, the Chinese government is turning its wrath toward what it deems questionable content on mobile phones.
The official Chinese news service, Xinhuanet, said Monday that following its shutdown of 1,250 websites, officials are now extending an anti-pornography campaign to mobile-phone messages.
In a statement, seven government departments including the State Council's Information Office, Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Culture said, "We will incorporate 'lewd' messages spread via mobile phones into the crackdown."
Since launching its campaign Jan. 5, the Chinese government reports deleting more than 3 million items of online information alleged to contain "vulgar" content.
Additionally, more than 40 people in the country have been detained for "promulgating porn online."
Free-speech advocates are aghast at the recent government actions, including Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition in California.
"China has imposed a stranglehold on its citizens' personal freedoms in its crackdown shutting down websites and imprisoning its citizens for sexual expression -- and now it is extending this crackdown to mobile phones," she told AVN Online.
"With Tuesday's inauguration and some of the executive orders issued this week, I think many of us who live in the United States are beginning to realize again how fortunate we are to live in a country where our government is by the people and for the people," Duke added.
Duke told AVN Online the actions of Chinese officials are also a reminder to remain alert and aware.
"After surviving eight years of an administration that tried to impose a similar stranglehold, our industry and our country stand ready to reclaim our civil liberties and personal freedoms," she said. "China's crackdown serves as a reminder of what can happen when we take those freedoms for granted and thus we must remain ever vigilant in defending our constitution and the principles for which it stands."