Chinese censors appear to have been packing in the overtime and have cut the number of website in the Glorious People's Republic by nearly a half.
Areport from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said that at the end of last year there were 1.91 million websites at the end of last year, a 41 per cent drop. CASS said the number of websites had shrunk because of the economic downturn, and because of campaigns to stamp out internet pornography and spam.
It was the first time that the number of websites in China has decreased, and is the result of purges on sites which are deemed unsuitable for Chinese workers. However a lot of the sites appear to be interactive websites and online forums. Those forums that were not shut down suddenly went quiet due to a fear of reprisals.
Authors of the report deny all this claiming that China has a very high level of freedom of online speech. They claim that there have been very few cases where websites were shut down in recent years purely to control speech. Some websites had simply gone bankrupt, while others had been shut for not complying with regulations. "Some illegal websites were shut down during a clampdown on obscene content," he added.