China video-site closure rumors whirl, disperse

Steven Schwankert
PC World
Saturday, March 8, 2008; 4:19 PM

Rumors that the Chinese government ordered the country's top online video site to close circulated on the Internet Friday, but appeared unfounded as the site continued to operate and news reports disappeared from top sites.

Reports appeared online late Thursday or Friday that China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), whose purview now generally includes online video and audio content, orderedTudou.comto shut down to "punish Tudou.com for violations in providing Internet audio-visual services." The site was being cited for providing pornographic video clips, the reports said.

However, the Tudou.com site remained operational, with no restriction on its functionality, and stories relating to the alleged closure were taken down from major news sites. Some reports remained, such as on portalSohu.com, but there were no links to the story on its homepage or its IT section page.

A Tudou spokesperson reached by telephone offered no comment. SARFT could not be reached for comment by telephone.

On Friday, SARFT re-asserted its authority to regulate and censor across various media, and renewing its ban on horror, pornographic, and violent themes. SARFT described specific proscription of "vulgar and lascivious displays, rape, prostitution, sexual perversion, homosexuality, masturbation, the display of male and female genitalia and other private areas, and the inclusion of dirty and vulgar language, songs, background music and sound effects."

The announcement comes during the annual meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's highest legislative body, which meets in Beijing until March 18.


© 2008 PC World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved