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China cracks down on online rumors, porn

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BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities have tightened already rigorous Internet controls by cracking down on online pornography and what state media called "rumormongers" and "slanderous content."

The state news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday that the country would target pornography on smartphones and punish pornographic app creators.

Xinhua said the government would also increase punishments for spreading rumors online although it didn't specify how it would do that. Already, Chinese courts can sentence people for up to three years in prison for writing online comments deemed defamatory. As part of the new campaign, the government has shut down websites and punished nearly 40 people it called rumormongers.

China enforces some of the world's tightest online controls and often prosecutes bloggers and political activists by accusing them of spreading rumors. A Beijing court sentenced a popular blogger, Qin Zhihu, in April to three years in prison for defaming celebrities and the government.

According to Xinhua, the government issued a statement saying it aims to "protect Chinese Internet users' rights in their life, work and studies."

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