Teenagers are to be banned from Internet cafés in China as part of a Government-led initiative to prevent young people from being exposed to "immoral and harmful content."
The ban also extends to karaoke bars and discos as the Government attempts to crack down on "audio and video products and electronic games" which "harm national security and incite hatred toward other nationalities," as reported by the Xinhua News Agency. The ban will go into effect on March 1st.
According to the Associated Press, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao stated: "With the development of the Internet, there has been some harmful and illegal content. The Chinese Government has adopted some management measures so as to limit the immoral and harmful content, especially for young people."
This is not the first time China has attempted to crack down on Internet gaming - last year the Government launched an initiative to restrict the amount of time players spent online to three hours. The Vietnamese Government recently announced plans to introduce similar measures. But according to reports, gamers have been circumventing the new rules by playing as different characters or playing alternative games once the time limit is up.
There is a huge market for MMORPGs in China - more than 1.5 million people have signed up for World of Warcraft, for example, since the game launched there last June. In November, the Government backed a survey which claimed that 13 per cent of the country's young people are addicted to online gaming.
Edited by therogue at 17:51 GMT, 21st Feb 2006 - 27469 Hits