Call for more free 'green Internet cafes' for young people

By Hu Yinan (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-29 06:54

The government is calling on more schools and community centers to provide free Internet services for young people.

Zhang Xiaoliang, chief of the Communist Youth League Central Committee's rights protection division, told China Daily yesterday: "A healthy environment and healthy online content should be offered to all kids, and we hope these 'green net bars' will help to do that."

Zhang said that while there had been considerable efforts made to crack down on illegal Internet cafes, doing so was not necessarily the best way to protect youngsters from inappropriate content.

Being online is a way of life for today's young people, Zhang said, so it is virtually impossible to force them to stay away from Internet cafes.

"You can't stop kids using Internet cafes just because they are poorly managed," he said.

From Friday, the revised Law on the Protection of Minors prescribes that, "Nonprofit Internet service infrastructures within communities shall be free or offered at a discounted price, as well as provide a safe and healthy online service for minors".

Youth and children's centers in the Wuhan, Jiaozuo and Tatang neighborhoods of Guangzhou, to name but a few, were the pioneers in providing this kind of nonprofit Internet cafes for minors, Zhang said.

When asked about the existence of such places in the nation's capital, however, he said: "So far, there are none."

The call for more "green net bars" follows a government notice in March, which banned the opening of any new Internet cafes for one year.

Fu Yanmei, an assistant inspector with the Ministry of Culture said that during a national inspection of Net cafes, which runs from next month until September, county officials will be required to inspect their Internet cafes at least once a week, city officials at least once a month, and provincial officials every two weeks. It is hoped the inspections will help reduce the number of youngsters who are currently addicted to online gaming, of which there are currently some two million, authorities have said.

There are 120,000 registered Internet cafes and countless unlicensed ones in China.

(China Daily 05/29/2007 page3)

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours