BEIJING (AP) — Sina.com temporarily closed its literature site Friday after being accused of hosting pornography, and the government confirmed it was revoking two crucial licenses, ensnaring one of China's top web portals in an intensifying online crackdown.
Sina decided to take books off its site while it undergoes "a self-correction action" to screen their content, according to a notice on its reading channel. Book reviews, cultural news, author biographies and interviews were still available.
While the government periodically launches campaigns targeting obscene or improper content, this is the first time a major Internet company has faced such a heavy punishment, which will likely serve as a warning to other big players. The latest anti-pornography campaign comes amid a wider crackdown on online expression that has seen individual microblogs closed and punishments for spreading rumors online.
The Beijing Cultural Law Enforcement Agency, a body under the city government responsible for clamping down on pornography and illegal publication, said there were still some procedures to go through before Sina's licenses were revoked.
"We delivered a note of punishment to Sina that states the two licenses will be revoked," Shen Rui, head of the online enforcement task force at Beijing Cultural Law Enforcement Agency, said Friday.