Is it a mistake? Chinese Internet users aren’t sure. All they know is that for the past eight weeks, pornography sites that had been blocked by government mandate are now available online.
The sites available are still somewhat limited – the Associated Press reports while some English-language sites have been unblocked, many Chinese sites are still stuck behind the wall. The Chinese firewall, the world’s largest, is powered by a combination of algorithms that scan for content and human works who flag undesirable material. Consuming pornography remains illegal in China.
Chinese officials have not responded to queries about the change. But researcher Xiao Qiang says the real censorship is reserved for the political – not the pornographic. The Chinese government cracks down on dissident websites, as well as negative news or protest materials: “Porn, they’re just halfheartedly doing it.” (via the Associated Press)