China bans new Internet cafes in 2007
Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

Beijing, March 6: China will not approve the opening of new Internet bars in 2007, according to a directive issued by 14 government departments including Ministry of Culture, State Administration for Industry and Commerce and Ministry of Information Industry.

“In 2007, local governments must not sanction the opening of new Internet bars. The construction of bars that have received planning approval prior to the issuance of this notice must be completed by June 30, 2007,” the notice said.

There are currently about 113,000 internet bars in China, according to the Ministry of Information Industry.

The notice also reiterated that Internet bars are not to admit anyone under the age of 18. Internet bars that are found to have twice allowed minors on their premises will be forced to close for 15 days and fined. After a third offence their business licence can be revoked.

School-owned Internet bars must be directly managed by the school, operated not for profit and cannot be leased to individuals, the notice said.

(Source: Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 0154 gmt 6 Mar 07 via BBC Monitoring)