China plans to restrict Internet giant Sina’s right to publish after finding pornographic content on the portal, a report said yesterday, in Beijing’s latest move to tighten control of the Web.
Sina published 24 “pornographic and obscene” e-books, videos and audio programs, said the government body that tackles pornography and illegal publications in a report on its Web site.
“Sina neglected basic legal standards ... [and] openly spread obscene and pornographic information,” the report cited an unnamed official as saying. “The damage was severe and the [offense] was vile.”
The Beijing Times yesterday cited an unnamed investigator on the case as saying that the pornographic e-books were mostly novels by third-party authors and that Sina regularly promoted such works in pop-up windows.
Some of the material published was viewed millions of times, the report on the government Web site said.
Authorities plan to revoke two of Sina’s licenses that will effectively bar it from publishing online books, video and audio content, as well as charging it a “hefty” fine, the Web site said, without specifying an amount.
Police are now investigating employees from the portal who are suspected of crimes related to pornography, the report said.
Sina has issued an apology on its Web site.
“Sina indeed didn’t keep a tight enough control and monitoring over some contents,” the firm said in an online statement. “We regret and are deeply ashamed of that.”
It did not say whether it planned to appeal.
Sina is the parent company of Sina Weibo, one of China’s most popular microblogging services.