Sunday, April 27, 2014

China Launches Porn Crackdown (Again), Sina Gets Called Out (Again), Apologizes (Again), Loses Licenses (That's A First)

On April 21, 2014, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “Chinese Websites Vow No Porn.” Some excerpts:
Major Chinese websites have vowed not to attempt to exploit pornographic content to boost their click rates, amid a national crackdown on online pornography.

The websites, including 15 affiliated to state news organizations, and six commercial websites such as sina.com, qq.com and baidu.com pledged support for the crackdown at a conference held by the State Internet Information Office (SIIO) on Monday.
On April 24, Xinhua published an article entitled “China's Sina.com Hit by Ban After Porn Offense.” Some excerpt:
China's Internet giant Sina.com will be stripped of its online publication license, a penalty that might partially ban its operations, after articles and videos on the site fell prey to the country's high-profile anti-porn movement.

According to a statement released on Thursday by the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications, 20 articles and four videos posted on Sina.com were confirmed to have contained lewd and pornographic content following "a huge amount" of public tip-offs.

As of result, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television decided to revoke the company's two crucial licenses on Internet publication and audio and video dissemination and impose "a large number of fines."
The same day, Sina published the following apology:
Statement of Apology

Today, the media has revealed a problem in that Sina's Book Channel Original Novels linked to, and some content on Sina's Video Channel blog included, content that was suspected of being obscene and pornographic. We feel deeply distressed about this, and to the Internet users and society generally we express our most sincere apologies.

Notwithstanding our ongoing efforts, nevertheless there has indeed been some content on Sina that was not blocked, as well as negligent oversight. As one of China's most influential web sites, we have not been able to fulfill our responsibility to protect our users, and for this we are deeply regretful and ashamed.

As regards the severe sanctions which the relevant organs have imposed on us, we will strictly carry them out and absolutely will not try to shift responsibility.

After the problem was exposed, our company immediately set up a dedicated working group and ordered relevant departments and relevant teams to carry out a thorough investigation and rectify and reform: First, those responsible will be dealt with severely, and will voluntarily admit their errors to the relevant organs, and undertake profound self-criticism. Second, the reasons for this will be uncovered and lessons will be learned, and a self-examination and self-rectification will be undertaken of all content on the web site. Third, a reform and rectification will be undertaken, and effective mechanisms for examination will be established in order to ensure this kind of think will not happen again.

We are currently engaged in close communication and coordination with the relevant organs in order to allow our reform and rectification work to be more focused, and at the same time reduce losses to relevant business operations as much as possible. Finally, as always, we appeal to Internet users to provide us with oversight and criticism. At the same time, we are also willing, together with all other web sites, to resolutely act in concert and support the nation's "Cleaning the Web 2014" campaign, carry forward the main theme, arouse positive energy, and work together to build a cool and bright Internet space.
Sina

May 24, 2014
致歉声明

今天,媒体曝光了新浪读书频道原创小说连载、新浪视频频道播客栏目部分内容存在涉嫌传播淫秽色情信息的问题。对此,我们深感痛心,特向广大网友和社会各界致以最诚挚的道歉。

虽然我们一直在努力,但是新浪网的确存在着对部分内容把关不严、疏于监控的现象。作为国内最有影响力的网站之一,我们未能够做到守土有责,对此我们倍感遗憾和惭愧。

对于网络主管部门给予我们的严厉处罚,我们将认真执行,决不推诿。

问题曝光后,公司在第一时间成立专项整改小组,要求各相关部门和相关环节进行彻查整改:一是对相关责任人予以严肃处理,主动向主管部门坦承错误,并做出深刻检讨;二是查找原因,举一反三,对全网站内容进行自查自纠;三是进行整改,建立核查长效机制,确保此类事件不再发生。

同时,我们正与主管部门进行密切的沟通和配合,以使我们的整改工作更有针对性,同时使相关业务的损失降到最低。 最后,呼吁广大网友一如既往地对我们进行监督和批评。同时,我们也愿意和所有网站一道,坚决响应和支持国家“扫黄打非,净网2014”行动,弘扬主旋律,激发正能量,共同建设一个清朗的网络空间 。

新浪网

2014年4月24日
This is not the first time Sina has apologized for pornographic content on its web site. On January 5, 2009, the State Council Information Office, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology,  Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Culture, State Administration for Industry and Commerce, State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, and General Administration of Press and Publication held a teleconference to announce that their agencies were launching a “Campaign to Rectify Internet Indecency.” The same day the SCIO's web site published an article entitled "Seven Agencies Launch Crackdown on Prurient Internet Trends" (七部委开展整治互联网低俗之风专项行动), which cited Cai Mingzhao as stating:
Some websites exploit gaps in policies and regulations and try to dodge responsibility, they use various means to disseminate content that is low brow and vulgar, even obscene, severely corrupting the online atmosphere. Online indecency is spreading unchecked, and is seriously harming the physical and mental health of a large number of young people, it is a disaster for numerous households, endangering posterity and directly harming the personal interests of the masses. All aspects of society are focused on this, and the reaction of the masses is strong, with many parents calling out to “save the children,” and strongly demanding the Party and the government to adopt resolute measures to resolve the problem. 
一些网站钻政策法规空子,采取打擦边球的办法,以多种形式发布格调低下、内容粗俗甚至低级下流信息,严重败坏网上风气。网上低俗之风泛滥,严重危害广大青少年身心健康,殃及千家万户,祸及子孙后代,直接危害人民群众的切身利益,社会各界十分关注,广大群众反映强烈,许多家长发出“救救孩子”的呼声,强烈要求党和政府采取坚决措施加以整治。
The same day, the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre issued a list of 19 websites with “a large quantity of indecent content that violates social mores and harms the physical and mental health of the youth.” Topping the list were Google, Baidu, Sina, Sohu, Tencent, NetEase, Chinaren.com, and Zhongsou.com.

On January 6, 2009, Baidu, Google, NetEase (youdao.com), Sina, Sohu (sogou.com), and Tencent (soso.com) issued statements regarding their inclusion on the government’s list of websites with pornographic content. Here is Sina’s 2009 apology: http://news.xinhuanet.com/internet/2009-01/07/content_10615493.htm
On January 5, 2009, the SCIO and six other agencies launched a campaign dedicated to cleansing the web of vulgar content. With respect to our faults and the negative impact these faults may have had on Internet users, Sina feels deeply distressed and views this as very important. We have promptly launched a comprehensive cleanup, and are carrying out investigations, revisions, and closures of that content which has already been shown to have problems. We are strengthening content oversight procedures and requirements, and those who are responsible will be severely dealt with.
Sina would especially like to express its most sincere regrets to Internet users for the problem of indecent content on websites. We earnestly commit to you: From this day forward we will adopt effective measures to completely and thoroughly remove indecent and other harmful content, we will take the initiative against the winds of indecency, clean up the Internet environment, and work hard to build a healthy and civilized Internet culture. 
2009年1月5日,国新办等7部门发起了整治互联网低俗之风专项行动。新浪网因相册和博客栏目对新增低俗内容删除不及时被曝光批评。对于我们存在的问题和由此可能给网民带来的不良影响,新浪网深感痛心并高度重视,立即展开全方位清理,对已被点名或可能存在问题的栏目进行清查、整改和关闭,强化内容监控的工作流程和要求,并严肃处理了相关责任人。
对于网站存在低俗内容的问题,新浪网特向广大网友表示最诚挚的歉意,并郑重承诺:即日起采取一切有效措施,对低俗等有害信息进行完全彻底的清除,自觉抵制低俗之风,净化互联网环境,为打造健康、文明的网络文化而努力。

For more on the 2009 anti-porn campaign, see here: A Chronicle of China's State Run Media Attacks on Apple in 2013, With Some Historical Perspective.

Translation: Huang Xuqin and Wang Jianbing Inciting Subversion Indictment

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