CENSORSHIP

Hunan censor tells of battle against pornography

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 May, 2013, 3:53am

A month after Hunan's anti-pornography department busted a provider of indecent videos, provincial television got a rare interview with one of the officials in charge of looking through the seized material.

At first, the experience was "awkward, my face and ears turned red and my heart skipped a beat", Liu Xiaozhen, a 70-year-old member of the investigative team, said as he recalled his first day on the job.

You have to watch [the pornography] even if you don't want to watch
Liu Xiaozhen, Censor

Liu is a member of the provincial "eliminate pornography and illegal publications" office. Such departments exist throughout the mainland, and because of their duties, officials usually keep quiet about their work.

Liu is a longtime professional. In 2008, he received a national award of excellence for writing an essay about his profession.

He and three colleagues have to examine the 700 DVDs confiscated in April, classifying them within a week as "pornographic", "obscene" or "others", he said.

The distinction will help decide what charges to press against those arrested. "You have to watch even if you don't want to watch," Liu said in the report.

"But when you're in this job, you have to watch very closely, and once you've watched, you classify."

He could not be reached in his office for comment on Monday.

The requirements to join his team do not seem high. One has to be married and to have had training, the Hunan news report said, showing an office with a dozen middle-aged men whose faces had been blurred out.

The provincial team confiscated 13,000 indecent products in the first quarter of the year, People's Daily said last month.

Producing and distributing obscene material can lead to prison sentences of up to three years under national criminal law.

Last month, a Hunan county declared a "people's war" against forged sex photos. Local crooks were photoshopping officials' and businessmen's faces into obscene photos to blackmail them.