BEIJING -- The Chinese government has pledged to eradicate the sale of new
Internet bar licenses, which has continued despite a ban earlier this month.
Tuo Zuhai, vice director of the Ministry of Culture cultural market
department, said at a meeting on Internet bars that licenses were still sold in
some areas for high profits after 14 government departments, including the
Ministry of Culture, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the
Ministry of Information Industry, banned the practise.
The sales were illegal and would be stopped according to laws and
regulations, Tuo said.
"There are currently almost 120,000 Internet bars in China, which meets the
demand of the market," said Tuo, adding an increase in the number would lead to
The government notice also required that school-owned Internet bars must be
directly managed by the school, operated on a not-for-profit basis and must not
be leased to individuals.
In recent years, Chinese government officials and commentators has voiced
concerns over an alleged rise in the number of teenagers addicted to Internet
cafes and gaming.
The number of Internet users in China reached 123 million in mid-2006. About
15 percent of the total -- or 18 million -- are under the age of 18.
A report by the Beijing Reformatory for Juvenile Delinquents claimed 33.5
percent of its detainees were influenced by violent on-line games or erotic
websites when they committed crimes such as robbery and rape.
Many experts and lawmakers have suggested the government tighten the
management of Internet bars.