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China's Cyberspace Watchdog Shuts Down 18,489 'Illegal' Websites

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Some of the websites were shut down for promoting online games or dating information in the guise of online courses while others were punished for spreading illegal materials, including pornographic and violent content, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

China, which tightly controls the country’s internet access, shut down 18,489 “illegal" websites last year and issued warning notices to 4,551 online platforms, according to the official media. Some of the websites were shut down for promoting online games or dating information in the guise of online courses while others were punished for spreading illegal materials, including pornographic and violent content, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

Critics allege that the crackdown includes websites that carry critical content not approved by the government. Cyberspace administration departments in 2020 also launched a series of campaigns to purge cyberspace of platforms promoting illegal activities, exerting a negative influence on society and containing information harmful to juveniles, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The CAC continues to direct provincial-level cyberspace administration departments in dealing with illegal websites and online platforms and intensifying law enforcement in this regard, the report said.

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first published:January 30, 2021, 18:24 IST