Chinese govt swoops on internet cafes

China has closed 8,600 internet cafes since February as part of a national campaign to clamp down on internet cafes that violate...

China has closed 8,600 internet cafes since February as part of a national campaign to clamp down on internet cafes that violate government regulations.

The cafes were closed down because they were found to have admitted juveniles illegally, a report from the official Xinhua news agency claimed.

Internet cafes that do not have the required licences to operate and allow internet users to access or spread "unhealthy information" over the internet are also targets of the government campaign, which is set to last through August.

The Xinhua report cited an incident in the southwestern city of Chongqing in March, where two young students were killed by a train after they fell asleep on train tracks after spending 48 hours online in an unregistered internet cafe.

The China Internet Network Information Center, which oversees the .cn country domain for China, estimated that 20.3% of China's 79.5 million internet users access the web by way of the internet cafes.

In March, Reporters Without Borders, a watchdog organisation based in Paris, reported that Chinese authorities were cracking down on internet cafes that were not run by approved operators to track down political dissidents using the internet. The group did not provide details of the crackdown.

Sumner Lemon writes for IDG News Service

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