China has a long tradition of erotic art but pornographic films and pictures are currently illegal. Despite frequent anti-porn clampdowns, pornography remains available both online and in the form of DVDs.
A paper titled A Peep at Pornography Web in China compiled by scholars at Xi’an Jiatong University is one of the few authoritative sources of pornography statistics. The scholars examined “part of network traffic in Northwest Net of China, from Mar. 29 2009 to Jan. 25 2010″ and “collected 92,950 online porn web pages from 1,826 porn sites” of which only 12.8% were hosted on servers inside China. The paper looks at usage patterns of the people detected visiting porn sites, but does not attempt to derive any numbers about porn use nationwide.
Nonetheless, anecdotal evidence suggests demand for porn in China is growing. Aside from professionally produced films, there is a growing subculture of DIY porn movies, which is one of the subjects Dr. Katrien Jacobs examines in her new book, People’s Pornography: Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet.