Eleven people accused of running China's biggest pornographic Web site went on trial Wednesday in the midst of a nationwide crackdown on online smut, a news report said.
The Web site was set up in 2003 to sell photographs, articles and movies, and had more than 100,000 registered users, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The site was run from the eastern province of Anhui but based on a server in the United States, Xinhua said. It received more than 35 million hits before it was shut down by police in November.
The report didn't say what penalty the defendants might face if convicted. But the operator of another Web site was sentenced in November to 15 years in prison on charges of peddling pornography.
China encourages Internet use for business and education and has 87 million people online. But communist leaders also try to control what the Chinese public sees, blocking access to material deemed subversive or pornographic.
The government says thousands of people have been detained and hundreds of sites shut down since the anti-porn crackdown was launched last year.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969