China Cracks Down On PR Black Arts

Since April, authorities have been cracking down on the insidious business of hacking into web sites to remove unfavorable news articles and comments, and of hiring writers to post rumors, half-truths and outright lies about rivals. Firms offering such services advertise themselves as PR outfits. While we hold no particular torch for that industry such black arts are quite rightly illegal. The industry and information technology ministry now says it has uncovered 150 examples of the illegal practice and shut down 6,600 web sites supporting it. We would be being mischievous in the extreme if we were to say that the relevant state organs wouldn’t want their monopoly

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