Chinese authorities are trying to reassure amorous couples that sexy text messages will not land them in jail amid a crackdown against pornography on the internet and mobile phones.
Two high-ranking justice officials, quoted on Saturday in Beijing News, made a point of giving precise details of the anti-pornography law a few days after an explanation of the text by the country's Supreme Court and the supreme public prosecutor's department.
"If a friend feels offended (by a pornographic message), then it is possible there is an offence, but if this friend likes it and both exchange messages, then surely there does not have to be an offence," said Hu Yunteng, an official in charge of research at the Supreme Court.
"So for friends or colleagues who exchange vulgar content or make fun between themselves by messages, at this level the full weight of the legal apparatus will not be brought to bear against the vulgarity of such people."
The legal authorities explained that they were targeting only criminals responsible for the mass diffusion of pornographic messages.
Under China's law, police can place anyone who transmits pornographic or insulting messages in administrative detention for five to 10 days, the newspaper said.
According to Chinese media, in 2009 the authorities arrested nearly 5,400 people during a nationwide crackdown against pornography on the internet and closed thousands of websites.
Faced with "yellow," or pornographic, messages, authorities are fighting back with "red" messages of their own which transmit revolutionary values, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.