July 13 — In a further sign of the growing influence of the Internet in China, and growing fears about the technology among local party officials, authorities in the southern city of Xinyi (信宜) apprehended three men accused of circulating “rumors” on the Internet about a serial rapist. Columnist and CMP fellow Yan Lieshan criticized the action today in Southern Metropolis Daily [more from ESWN], saying Xinyi officials showed no apparent concern for their own negligence in failing to issue timely warnings to the public (police have admitted a series of rapes in Xinyi between March 19 and May 31 this year, with a suspect taken into custody on July 3), instead misdirecting their focus to allegedly exaggerated Web postings.
July 13 — Authorities in Guangzhou announced a raid on a printing house where “stacks upon stacks”, reportedly more than six tons, of an unlicensed “pornographic” magazine were waiting for distribution. Guangzhou’s New Express reported police were alerted to the operation by a disgruntled employee who had been fired by the printing house. The newspaper quoted the source, Ah Bing, as saying: “I don’t want to help them do those kinds of immoral things anymore. And I don’t want to allow the printing house to continue harming others.” He said the printing house had produced various pornographic publications on demand. “They would print anything,” he said. “All it took was money.” The story highlighted a persistent problem facing authorities in China, where the age of commercialized media has spawned an explosion in unlicensed “adult” publications despite strict laws and regulations on indecent content.