China Blocks New Cyber Cafes in Latest Internet Clampdown
[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 01/04/14; April 14, 2001.]
BEIJING, Apr 14, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) China said Saturday it is to impose a three-month ban on the opening of new cyber cafes as part of a major offensive against unchecked use of the Internet.
The official Xinhua news agency said authorities are to conduct a massive probe into existing Internet outlets, which it views as potential hotbeds of dissent and vice.
"We cannot neglect the influence of the Internet on teenagers' growth and social development," Information Industry minister Wu Jichuan was quoted as saying.
Scores of teenagers are addicted to the Internet, "indulging" themselves in online games, chatrooms and pornography, Xinhua added.
It said that all Internet cafes would be asked to re-register while those without legal certificates would be shut down.
The number of Internet users in China has risen hugely in recent years, with some 22.5 million people logging on last year, a 153 percent increase from 1999, according to government figures.
Beijing has imposed tough legal controls over political content on websites. These include regulations passed last year prohibiting subjects as wide-ranging as rumors, slander and "harmful information."
Earlier this year China's leading website, Sina.com, was forced to shut down its chatroom after outraged users posted messages decrying government denials that schoolchildren killed in an explosion in Fanglin, south east China, had been manufacturing fireworks.
Last year authorities in Shanghai closed 500 computer parlors and over 100 Internet bars as part of a national campaign against illegal entertainment.
And in Guangzhou, more than 1,500 video game arcades were closed down out of concerns about their negative influence on young people.
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