New rules set for online game content
China was to release a set of new rules to vet the content of online games as part of a campaign to combat their harmful influences on the young, State media said.
"The move is part of governmental efforts to purify the content of online games, prompted by strong public pleas," the Xinhua news agency reported.
Under new rules drawn up by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Information Industry to be released soon, game manufacturers were required to revise game rules that might lead to addiction, it said.
The two ministries will also recommend a number of healthy "premium games" endorsed by the government to youngsters during the summer vacation.
"Players of online games are mostly people under 35 years old," Zhang Xinjian, an official with the Ministry of Culture, was quoted as saying.
"These people are prone to the negative influences of sex, violence and other types of unhealthy content of online games."
The report quoted the example of a 13-year-old boy who leaped to his death from a 24-floor building in a flying posture, after leaving a note saying he was joining three friends, who were characters of an online game.
The Ministry of Culture has already banned 50 electronic games earlier this year, including FIFA Soccer 2005 and Microsoft's Age of Mythology.
Xinhua said China now had 23 million online game players, a surge from 13.8 million in 2003.
China's Internet population reached 94 million at the end of last year and
saw sales of online games in 2004 soar 47.9 percent to 2.47 billion yuan