Three days ago Zhang Xuewen, a Beijing webmaster, was sentenced to one year fixed term imprisonment on charges of spreading obscene articles. To increase his website’s traffic and earn ad revenue, Zhang provided his visitors with several pornographic pictures and movies.
The Procuratorial Daily does not mention when the website was created. One thing it is sure though. Zhang was eventually found guilty, but the pictures remained online enough to make him earn quite a bit of money. Also his business grew to the point where he hired one employee. Westerners tend to perceive internet censorship in China as pervasive and extremely effective. As a matter of fact, this website was overlooked for a significant period of time.
- The Many Facets of the Internet
- Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China (1997)
- Criminal Law of the PRC, Art. 363
A person who, with a view of profit, produces, reproduces, publishes, sells or spreads obscene articles, shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, criminal detention or public surveillance and concurrently to a fine; if the circumstance is serious, to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than ten years and concurrently to a fine; and if the circumstance is especially serious, to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than ten years or life imprisonment and concurrently to a fine or confiscation of property.A person who provides a book number for another person to publish obscene books or periodicals shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, criminal detention or public surveillance and concurrently or independently, to a fine. A person who provides another person with a book number which he clearly knows to be used to publish obscene books or periodicals shall be sentenced in accordance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph.