Chinese dating websites shut down in online prostitution and fraud raid
Tue 17 Feb 2015
Chinese internet regulators have shut down 65 online dating and match-making services, accusing them of spreading “obscene and lascivious” content and permitting users to create false accounts.
China now ranks as the largest online dater community in the world, with singles flocking to dating websites in their hundred millions faced with tough family planning policies and being labelled a “leftover” man or woman by the state. Taobao, China’s largest e-retail site, even provides a ‘virtual lover’ service for those in need of hiring a partner for 20 yuan (£2) per day.
Citing the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the Xinhua state media report today claimed that “the circumstances” surrounding these websites “were serious and the effects terrible.” The cases highlighted included websites which leaked personal data and hid or promoted illegal activities.
Among the blacklisted sites were “Get a one-night stand” and “Playing with you net”, according to the news agency.
Last week, amid national Valentine’s frenzy, the country’s internet watchdog announced that it would be clamping down on match-making websites in order to fight prostitution and fraud, and would require that users provide true information on their identity. Existing members would need to complete information forms to avoid account suspension, the CAC confirmed.
“Whether the real name registration for the matchmaking industry would eradicate violations still needs to be tested over time but it could remind users to protect their private information when registering on these websites,” said Shi Xiansheng, deputy secretary at the Internet Society of China.
The CAC also revealed that it has launched a dating site hotline for the public to report any suspicious websites that may be covering illegal activities.
“This campaign could improve the matchmaking industry by weeding out illegal websites or companies in China,” said the dating website Jiayuan.com which counts 120 million registered users.
China exercises a hefty censorship programme over internet activity in the name of ensuring social and moral stability, as well as protecting consumer rights.