BEIJING (AP) _ China has blocked 127 spam servers around the world in it latest battle against junk mail on the Internet, the official Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday.

``This has been the first large-scale spammer blockade launched by the Chinese Internet industry,'' Ren Jinqiang, an official with the Internet Society of China was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Ren said e-mail messages from blocked servers will automatically be refused. The sanctions would be lifted after the servers stop sending junk mail for three months, Xinhua said.

Ninety of the blocked servers were from Taiwan, 29 were from outside China and eight were from the mainland, Xinhua said, without providing other details.

The crackdown stemmed from complaints from Chinese Internet users who said they were being bombarded daily with hundreds of junk e-mails, Xinhua said. It did not say if other countries were being inundated by spam from the same servers.

Ren said the blacklist was the result of a month's monitoring work by the state-run Internet Society of China, which is made up of 140 members drawn from private companies, schools and research institutes. The Beijing-based group aims to promote the development of the Internet throughout the country.

Last month, the group published a list of 225 spam servers around the world.

With 68 million users, China has the world's second-biggest online population after the United States, which has more than 165 million, according to statistics published by the Chinese government.

Internet use for business and education is encouraged, although the communist government censors chat rooms and tries to block access to foreign sites run by dissidents, human rights groups and news organizations.

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