Reuters news agency reports that the Chinese government has extended its recent Web crackdown on “pornography and vulgarity” which resulted in the closing of 19 major Web sites and more than 1,200 smaller ones, is expanding to the cell phone system.

“We will incorporate ‘lewd’ messages spread via mobile phones into the crackdown,” the official Chinese news agency Xinhua quotes a statement from a coalition of seven government ministries as saying.

Google China, Baidu (the leading Chinese language search engine) and other online services have been criticised by the Chinese government for not being quick enough to take down “prohibited” content and dissident blogs.

The Internet crackdown has been characterized by observers as just one move in a master plan by the Chinese government to stiffle public dissent during a year of politically-sensitive anniversaries, not the least of which is the 20th anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen Square student protests.

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