The Chinese government launched a crackdown against internet adult pornographic content by requesting search engine companies reduce the amount of web sites linking to all sexual content.
Government officials criticized Google and China's Baidu search engines, along with 17 others, calling for them to aggressively filter all sexual content. Companies that do not comply with the threat risk heavy fines or being booted out of China.
Pornography is illegal in China, but the content proliferates into the country as more Chinese citizens begin to get Internet access. A woman last month was arrested after she reportedly posted an explicit video of herself on the internet.
A collection of seven agencies, including the Ministry of Public Security, have banded together in an effort "to purify the Internet's cultural environment and protect the healthy development of minors." The China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center noticed that more web sites, including Google.cn, collects large amounts of links to pornographic web sites.
Baidu, Google -- the No. 2 search engine in China, trailing only Baidu -- NetEase, Sohu, and Sina were also named on the list created by the government. Google doesn't attempt to censor pornographic search results or images in China, and uses an automatic filter and a red-flag system.
Search engines are expected to censor objectionable content, and then the government uses a massive Internet filtering system to eliminate material that slips through the cracks. The Chinese government is well known for restricting and censoring internet content to its 253 million Internet users throughout the country.
China's efforts to "control and censor the internet, and the government had tightened restrictions on freedom of speech and the domestic press" has increased, a U.S. State Department report published last year.
Intelligence analysts wondered if this small crackdown on porn content will lead to a bigger internet crackdown in the future.