China shut down 44,000 Web sites and arrested 868 people for Internet pornography last year, state media said Wednesday. China's Public Security Ministry launched a crackdown on Internet pornography last year, saying it had "perverted China's young minds." Nearly 2,000 people involved in Internet pornography activities also were penalized, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Separately, Xinhua said 33 people were arrested in connection with a Web site that allowed customers, mainly in Taiwan, to view live sex shows filmed at 12 separate locations in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai. Xinhua said 23 of those arrested were performers who were ordered detained for 15 days, while the 10 others, including two Taiwanese, were managers. It did not say when the arrests took place, but said the heavily trafficked site had been among those targeted in the crackdown last year.
Cash, computers and film equipment were also seized, Xinhua said. China forbids pornography and paid sex in virtually all forms, although prostitution is common and the government's Internet police struggle to block pornographic Web sites based abroad. China's online population has soared to 210 million people and could surpass the United States this year to become the world's biggest, the official China Internet Network Information Center said earlier this month. The government will increasingly concentrate on Web sites that have audio or video, blogging or send information to cell phones, Xinhua said.
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