Because eroticism and using vulgar language are "mental health issues," the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has warned that it will punish those who publish vulgar content via WeChat.
Porn has long been on the radars of the censors in China, but now the country is expanding its campaign against what it deems immoral material. Tencent Holdings' WeChat, popular among China's government officials and other public figures, now faces even more scrutiny.
Chinese sensors will punish WeChat users who use language or images that describe or depict nudity, eroticism, sexual abuse, one-night stands, wife sharing and "other harmful information," according to a report from Reuters. Other offending material includes ads for drugs, ads about sexually transmitted diseases, voyeuristic media and any leaked content.
Censors will close offending accounts for one week for each infraction, until the fourth. The fourth time an account is found to have been violating the new rules, the CAC will place a permanent ban on that user.
WeChat serves roughly 500 million people around the world each month, by some estimates. And about 80 percent of those users live in China.
February saw the deletion of approximately 60,000 accounts by several of China's top Internet organizations, the CAC reported. Whether merely seeking to distance themselves from the offending accounts or truly believing in the immorality of the content that was shared, that type of public oversight is what Chinese sensors have been asking of the public.
Back in May of 2014, China called on its citizens to speak up and report cases in which WeChat users shared information that may be representing violence, terrorism or pornography.
"Some people are using [WeChat] to disseminate negative or illegal harmful information to the public, seriously damaging the Internet system and hurting public interest, causing dissatisfaction among Internet users," Chinese state media quoted an unnamed official as saying.
And about a year ago, 45 people were jailed or warned about "spreading rumors" about a knife attack. Those warned or jailed where prominent bloggers who questioned the narrative surrounding the knife attacks and well as the ethnicity of the attackers.
[They bloggers] deliberately creating a panicked mood and disturbing social order, and will be dealt with according to the law and punished by public security," stated China's Public Security Bureau branch on its Weibo account.