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New regulation restricts sex info on Internet
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08:36, June 25, 2009

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Access to information about sex on the Internet will be further restricted under a new regulation by the Ministry of Health.

Under the regulation, which will come into effect on July 1, websites that link to sex-related studies and research can be accessed only by health professionals and researchers.

Under the new regulation, the MOH will better manage and monitor health-related websites, which are already required to be approved and registered with health authorities, said an official surnamed Yang with MOH's information office yesterday.

Xia Guomei, a researcher with the Shanghai Academy of Social Science, told China Daily that she welcomes the regulation in general, because many websites, which purport to give information about health, actually contain "harmful" information like pornography.

However, scientific sexual health knowledge and information is in high demand, and the public should not be denied this information, she noted.

Research shows that many Chinese adults educate themselves about sex through the Internet. Information on the Internet is plentiful, and people can learn about sex privately and efficiently, research says.

"The Internet itself is good as a channel for delivering and receiving information, particularly for proper sex education," Xia said.

The regulation applies to websites that are advertised as being health-based, including websites run by research institutes and private companies. It gave no details about how professionals would register for the information.

With control and monitoring, websites that specialize in healthcare might become an effective sex education base for the general public, Xia said.

Currently, China suffers from a lack of good sex education for its people, experts say. Most young adults find no place to learn about sex except from doctors and family planning departments.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 1,000 websites have been closed for distributing porn and other lewd materials to clean up the Internet.

Among those shut down were some websites that were advertised as being health-based but were in fact spreading pornography, Yang said.

Wu Linfeng, who operates the one-year-old www.139jk.cn, namely 139 Sexual Health, told China Daily that his business would suffer big setbacks from the new regulation, and could even close down.

"Currently the control is loose as my website is publicized as a health website and averages thousands of hits per day but is not registered with health authorities," he said.

"Once the registration is required, I expect considerable viewers will go and we may face closure," Wu said.

Source: China Daily

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