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China Busts Huge Porn Site, Thousands Arrested

Not actually porn, just a strategically edited pic of Chinese model Pan Shuangshuang.

Pornography is illegal in China, but of course, even China’s massive police force can’t entirely eradicate it — after all, it’s the internet’s whole reason for existence. The eternal battle rages on, but police have taken a massive step forward this month, busting a major domestic site with over a million members and arresting 2,148 suspects.

Police are reportedly especially concerned about the number of minors accessing the site — called “MM Apartments” — regularly. In fact, it only came to the attention of authorities after a Beijing mother who noticed her son’s high school grades sliding did a little snooping and discovered he was spending time looking at porn. The Beijing police set up a special unit to investigate, but the case eventually required the cooperation of police from more than thirty different localities.

The site was hosted in the United States, but its operators and viewers were both primarily domestic, police found. It changed URLs frequently to avoid police detection, and had been in operation since 2009. It apparently was arranged like a bulletin board, and had accrued over 8 million posts. Police ultimately downloaded more than 1 TB of pornographic material from the site, and discovered that some of its operators were underage, including a few under the age of 14. The site also encouraged minors to help participate in content sharing, as members needed to either pay (which most students couldn’t do) or make posts of their own. Police Internet Security department head Wang Xiaoyang:

The dangerous part is that originally a child might be there to browse, but to make their browsing easier, they ended up working to disseminate the site. That’s a common feature of pornographic BBS websites, but what’s really tragic is that some teachers became “MM Apartments” members, too. If the punishment for students will be reduced [because they are young], the punishment for these teachers should be made more harsh.

Although the folks operating “MM Apartments” are now mostly in custody, a quick Google search revealed numerous pornographic websites now using that name. An immediate unintended consequence of this high-profile bust may be that it has apparently made “MM Apartments” into a desirable pornography brand, and the copycats have already started to spring up.

Here’s hoping the students stick to their studies instead of seeking out these new sites, though.

[Beijing Times via Sina Tech, Image source]


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