Watchdog issues rare comment on execs' porn prosecution

Updated: 2016-01-11 07:30

By CAO YIN(China Daily)

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China's Internet watchdog has taken the rare step of commenting on an ongoing court case by issuing a statement about a controversial online pornography trial.

Four executives from Shenzhen Qvod Technology Co are accused of distributing porn for profit and may face up to 10 years in prison.

During their trial at Haidian District People's Court in Beijing, held on Thursday and Friday, prosecutors said the defendants knowingly allowed users to upload and download illicit videos to the now-defunct Qvod website. All four deny the allegations.

The judge's verdict is pending. However, the case has been one of the most-discussed topics among Chinese netizens over the weekend, with many saying the charges are too harsh.

The interest has been so intense that the Cyberspace Administration of China on Sunday surprised many observers by issuing a statement about the trial.

According to Chinese law, websites are legally liable for their content, "which is a basic principle to develop and govern the Internet", the watchdog said. It added, "Governing cyberspace by rule of law has become a consensus in the industry, and it requires everyone to abide by it."

Wang Sixin, a law professor at the Communication University of China, said he was glad to see the administration's attitude toward the case, saying, "The hearing should not be affected or interfered with by anyone, which is also a requirement of rule of law."

Liu Wenjie, executive director of the same university's Center for Internet and Intellectual Property Laws, applauded the court's transparency in handling the case, but added, "Legal procedures are ongoing and the verdict should come from the court."

Data from the Cyberspace Administration's Internet Information Reporting Center show almost 65 percent of more than 1 million complaints about online activity made in 2015 were related to pornography.

The authority vowed on Sunday to go on fighting online porn and encouraged netizens to report illegal content.