updated 6/30/2006 7:49:47 AM ET 2006-06-30T11:49:47

China's Internet regulators are stepping up controls on blogs and search engines to block material it considers unlawful or immoral, the government said Friday.

"As more and more illegal and unhealthy information spreads through the blog and search engine, we will take effective measures to put the BBS, blog and search engine under control," said Cai Wu, director of the Information Office of China's Cabinet, quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency.

The government will step up research on monitoring technology and issue "admittance standards" for blogs, the report said, without providing any details.

China encourages Internet use for business and education but tries to block access to obscene or subversive material. 

It has the world's second-biggest population of Internet users after the United States, with 111 million people online.

China launched a campaign in February to "purify the environment" of the Internet and mobile communications, Xinhua said.

China has 37 million Web logs, or blogs, Xinhua said, citing a study by Beijing's Tsinghua University.  It said that number was expected to nearly double this year to 60 million.

The government has launched repeated crackdowns on online material considered pornographic.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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