A screenshot of the QVOD player. (Internet photo)
Police on Tuesday raided the headquarters of Shenzhen QVOD Technology in southern China's Guangdong province to investigate reports regarding the company dissemination of pornographic content online, reports the Shanghai-based China Business News.
A police officer at the scene confirmed that the company is currently under investigation but declined to give any further comment.
Shenzhen QVOD Technology, a developer and service provider of streaming media and entertainment content, said on its Sina Weibo account that the police had visited the headquarters on Tuesday morning but the company will continue operating as usual.
Company CEO Wang Xin also sent an internal email to employees concerning the police raid, according to the technology portal of Chinese internet giant Tencent. Wang said there was no reason to worry and that the company's lawyers are working to resolve the situation.
China recently launched the campaign Cleaning the Web 2014 in response to the persistent spread of pornography online despite multiple previous crackdowns, according to a circular issued by the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications. Authorities have shut down more than 100 websites and closed thousands of accounts on social media sites in an renewed effort to clean up the internet.
On April 16, Shenzhen QVOD said on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, that it will remove any pirated and obscene content by closing a QVOD server, which enabled video on demand and downloads based on is peer-to-peer (P2P) technology. The company will transform itself by investing 100 million yuan (US$16 million) to provide genuine content and will invest a further 30 million yuan (US$4.8 million) to support the innovation of domestic microfilms next year, the company said.
The operation model of Shenzhen QVOD, founded in 2007, has been criticized for allowing pornographic and pirated content to be viewed via the site for years, according to the paper, while another online content provider Baiduyiyi has already closed its server after being found violating intellectual property rights.
In November last year, dozens of domestic streaming websites filed lawsuits against Baiduyiyi and other video copycats. On Dec. 30, 2013, the regulator announced administrative punishments on 10 companies and individuals including Shenzhen QVOD and Baiduyiyi, and demanded the 10 to stop their infringements.
Meanwhile, some overseas critics are concerned that the renewed crackdown on material deemed obscene is the latest government attempt to tighten its grip on the internet and will be used for the broader censorship of websites, the paper said.