BEIJING - Thirty-one news websites have been shut down for operating without permits, conducting interviews in the name of news organizations and editing false information for blackmail and extortion, the State Internet Information Office said Thursday.

These websites include Ren Min Nei Can Wang, an unlicensed website that specialized in publishing false information and blackmailing companies and individuals by threatening to release false information about them, and peoplerw.com.cn, according to a statement issued by the office.