In a move that's sure to make Internet freedom advocates everywhere laugh out loud, Chinese government censors hard-pressed to stem the tide of porn are now offering to pay web users to go searching for it.


Almost needless to say, China's interest in pornography has swelled, in a manner of speaking.

Authorities are offering rewards of up to 10,000 yuan (1,465 dollars) to Internet users who report sites that feature pornography, state media reported Sunday.

The scheme, part of a larger Internet porn crackdown that even extends to mobile WAP sites, is being marketed by Chinese officials as a way to protect youths during the holiday. The porn prohibition even includes advertisements for sex-related products.

Within the first 24 hours, a hotline set up Friday by Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center was flooded with more than 500 phone calls and 13,000 online tips, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Rewards ranging from 1,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan will go to the first person to report each website, the center said in a notice, adding a committee would review the tipoffs to determine what award was appropriate, Xinhua said.

China has launched several Internet crackdowns on pornography, con artists and political activists in the past.

Earlier this year China threatened to sanction major websites, including search engine giants Google and Baidu, alleging that pornography and other material that could corrupt young people was turning up in search results.

Since June, the government has required all personal computers sold in China to be outfitted with an automated censorship program called the "Green Dam-Youth Escort."

With AFP.