China Shuts Down 1,600 Internet Cafes
Tuesday, November 2nd 2004, 1:02 pm
News On 6
BEIJING (AP) _ China has closed 1,600 Internet cafes and fined operators a total of $12 million for letting children play violent games and for other violations, the government said Saturday.
The announcement came amid a campaign launched in March to reduce or eliminate sex and violence in Web sites, video games and other material that Communist leaders consider harmful to public morality.
Investigators have inspected 1.8 million Internet cafes looking for unlicensed operations or those that let children play violent games meant for adults, the Ministry of Culture said.
China encourages Internet use for education and business but bans sexually oriented content on Chinese Web sites and tries to block access to foreign sites deemed pornographic or subversive.
The country has the world's second-largest population of Internet users after the United States, with 87 million people online.
``Porn, gambling, violence and similar problems have adversely affected the healthy development of the Internet in China,'' the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Zhang Xinjian, a Culture Ministry official, as saying.
In addition to those shut down permanently, some 18,000 Internet cafes have been ordered to ``stop operation for rectification,'' Zhang said.
The government said this month that 1,125 pornographic Web sites had been shut down since July and 445 people had been arrested.