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China closes over 3,300 cyber cafes

China has closed down over 3,300 Internet cafes nation-wide during the past six months for safety reasons, a senior Chinese official has said. The massive overhaul of China's Internet cafes in the last six months directly resulted from a fatal fire in a Beijing Internet cafe in June this year, which killed 25 people and injured 12 others.

The fire was caused by three disgruntled youngsters who were earlier denied entry to the Internet cafe. About 45,000 Internet cafes were inspected during the past six months, with nearly 12,000 of them suspended for shape-up and more than 3,300 closed, Minister in charge of China's State Economic and Trade Commission, Li Rongrong said.

The number of Internet users in China would reach 58 million by the end of 2002, second only to the US, according to government statistics. It said the number of Internet users in China has risen by 28.70 million since last year. In a report on workplace safety to the standing committee of the ninth National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature on Thursday, Li said workplace safety was always a key issue the Chinese government was deeply concerned with.

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