Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on May 21, 2007
According to Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, the government has launched yet another campaign in its never-ending battle against Internet porn, politics and other “decadent and and backward ideological and cultural material.” In this latest crackdown, the Shanghai Daily reports, “police have closed 1,450 Websites and deleted more than 30,000 allegedly obscene messages.” Among those rounded up, a blogger named Li who posted erotic stories on a blog called “Hazy Night” that had attracted almost 100,000 visits since its launch last summer.
The only problem is, even Xinhua admits that there might be no legal basis for Blogger Li’s arrest. Yes, he was writing about sex. But Li wasn’t actually charging any money for people to read his online porn. No charge, no foul? “People convicted of selling obscene content face jail terms between six months to three years, but it was not immediately clear if that would apply to Li because the material was freely available on his site.” It’s interesting that the official news agency would admit to such ambiguity in the law, but I don’t think that’s a hopeful sign for Li and other Chinese bloggers. More likely the fact that Xinhua is pointing out this loophole is a sign that the loophole won’t last much longer.