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China Shuts Down 55 Websites

China Internet Network Information Center (CINIC) recently shut down 55 websites that “engage in illegal online promotions.” The operation was based on public tip-offs sent to the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre (CIIRC), a self-claimed non-governmental organization that lists “receiving public reports and complaints about illegal and harmful information on the Internet within the border of China” as one of its key functions. 

The is part of a two-month campaign that the State Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security, and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce launched jointly in mid April. The CINIC spokesperson describes “illegal online promotion” as “using improper means against competitors, distorting or fabricating facts for extortion, sensationalizing hot topics to hype up online public opinion, engaging in private transactions to seek illegal profit, causing serious damage to the online environment and the market economy, harming the public interest, and receiving strong dissatisfaction from the people.” 
The Xinhua report lists the names of the websites; some carry the word Weiquan, or civil rights.

Source: Xinhua, June 7, 2011