RealTime IT News

Thousands Of Internet Cafes Closed In China

Some folks see it as a crackdown. However, the Chinese government wants folks to sees it as a massive clean-up effort.

Either way...thousands of Internet cafes across China either have been closed or ordered to do so, according to Xinhua, the government's official news service.

Without attribution, the Reuters news agency quickly pointed out: "To the government, [Internet cafes] open the door to a dangerous world outside the Communist Party's control."

But, according to the Chinese government's official communique, state authorities are closing down the unlicensed cafe in an attempt to stem off tax evasion and prevent the proliferation of indescent material.

Since they first appeared in the large metropolitan areas of China in 1997, Internet cafes have been sprouting up like mushrooms...in bookstores, clothing retailers or even the butcher shop.

However, unlicensed Internet cafes offer patrons lower-priced Web services by evading taxes mandated by the Ministry of Information Industry (MII), the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Culture, and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce. Those rules took effect in April.

The government bulletin also cited high pornographic traffic at Internet cafes that targeted teenagers.

Since April, the Chinese government has closed down 2,000 cafes. Another 6,000 have been order to shut down as part of a three-month examination. More than 56,800 Internet cafes or bars have now been inspected across the country during the three-month period.

The MII has announced that no new Internet cafes will be approved before the examination is completed.

Earlier this week, Xinhua reported the number of Internet users in China grew to 26.5 million, up 56.8 percent from the same period last year.