The investigation comes as Chinese authorities
tighten their control over the Internet. In April, China's
national anti-pornography office stripped Sina Corp of some
online publication licenses as part of the crackdown..
The latest websites under investigation, which include a web
portal owned by Chinese Internet firm NetEase, are suspected of
distributing shows such as cartoon series Grimm's Fairy Tales
that contain violent and obscene content, Xinhua said, without
The news agency said the websites could face criminal and civil
penalties if convicted by China's State Administration of Press,
Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), but gave no
In April, SAPPRFT hit Internet video sites with rare takedown
notices for popular U.S. TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory
and NCIS without a clear reason. Such shows are not known to
contain controversial sexual or political content.
Xinhua said that the investigation into the 52 websites was part
of China's campaign to clean up the Internet. To date, Chinese
press and publication regulators have banned 122 online
publications and punished 93 websites, the news agency said.
(Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Sophie Walker)
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