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No new Internet cafes to be licensed in China

The Chinese government has announced that it will not license any new Internet cafes this year while regulators carry out an industry-wide inspection: investigators will look into whether Internet cafes are improperly renting out their licenses or failing to register their customers' identities. "Industry and commerce bureaus at all levels must not license any new Internet cafes in 2007," said a notice on the State Administration for Industry and Commerce Web site. Internet cafes are hugely popular with customers who spend hours playing online games that link multiple competitors.

The communist government encourages Web use for business and education, but authorities are worried it gives children access to violent games, sexually explicit material and gambling Web sites. China has the world's second-largest population of Internet users, with 137 million people online, and is on track to surpass the United States as the largest online population in two years. The government tries to block access to online material deemed obscene or subversive.

News source: MSNBC

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