Pornography in China is banned, but how do the Chinese cope?

Pornography has a strict ban in China. Those who create, share and sell this kind of content can even get a lifetime sentence in jail, according to the Chinese criminal law.

Despite the ban, it is of course virtually impossible to ban pornography, especially in huge country such as China, so of course pornography in China is alive and well, but how?

The government has shut down numerous services in the last couple of years, but the game is still on, and providers and users daily find new ways to share the adult content regardless of its nature. Actually, the development of online porn industry is a real way of showing how China has succeeded in improving its intranet.

China had first porn tubes

Some type of porn tubes have emerged in China long before PornHub and YouPorn have become popular in United States, Canada and worldwide. In 2004. The most famous Chinese tube like sites were 99Erotica Forum and EroticaJuneday.

Business model for these services is really simple. Before playing the videos, the users had to watch a few ads for sex toys, viagra and online gambling sites. These sites offer the combination of amateur videos and pirated porn movies downloaded from the Japan and US sites. The sites are registered outside China, and they often change their URL in order to avoid Chinese government officials tracking them down.


Lifetime sentences

Up until then the most famous site 99Erotica that has had around 300 000 subscribers was among the first the government has shut down and arrested 11 employees, among whom were teachers and state company employees, and they sentenced them up to 12 years of jail time.  
The website’s founder Chen Hui has got a lifetime sentence in jail. There were a lot of people who protested that the sentences are too strong and called for law to be changed and for nation to have more freedom of speech. One of the other website owners Cuaiba Wang Sin has been sentenced in 2014 to 3.5 years in jail and was fined with $150 000, and he often claimed on court that it is not his fault that the audience wants to watch that kind of content – “I think there isn’t anything shameful in technology” – he said on court.

What websites are still running?

Only one of the big players have survived, and is up and running from 2006. A website called Caoliu, which gains profit solely from ads, even though the government has blocked access to this site from China, the visitors can easily access it by using a VPN, even though allegedly it is hardest to setup VPN in China.

Since the employees of the website aren’t located in China, the website is outside the jurisdiction of Chinese government, and it has become the symbol of hope for pornography fans in China. This site is famous for it’s 1024 second rule, which is the limit for people who are not members to access the content, so this number has quickly become an international MEME for sexual content.