Chinese authorities tried to reassure amorous couples Saturday that sexy text messages would not land them in jail, amid a crackdown against pornography on the internet and mobile phones.
Two high-ranking justice officials, quoted Saturday in Beijing News, said the law would not necessarily be applied in cases where racy messages were consensual.
"If a friend feels offended (by a pornographic message), then it is possible there is an offense, but if this friend likes it and both exchange messages, then surely there does not have to be an offense," Hu Yunteng, an official in charge of research at the Supreme Court, was quoted as saying.
"So for friends or colleagues who exchange vulgar content or make fun between themselves ... the full weight of the legal apparatus will not be brought to bear."
Authorities said they were only targeting criminals responsible for the mass diffusion of pornography.
Under Chinese law, police can place anyone who transmits pornographic or insulting messages in administrative detention for five to 10 days.
In 2009, authorities closed thousands of websites and arrested nearly 5,400 people during a nationwide crackdown on internet pornography.
Authorities were also fighting the so-called yellow pornographic messages with "red" messages of their own that encouraged traditional values, the Xinhua news agency reported Saturday.