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Thursday, October 15, 1998 Published at 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Beijing bans computer games

Computer games are frowned on in Beijing

The authorities in the Chinese capital, Beijing, have banned all computer games.

BBC Beijing Correspondent James Miles reports on the boom in China's 'computer parlours'
They say the move is intended to protect intellectual property rights and safeguard the health of school children.

An official circular says those who violate the regulation will be dealt with severely.

"Investigations are now underway in cultural and recreation centres and places where computers are used for consultation, training and network services," the official Xinhua news agency said.

The news agency said the ban was directed against people who provide computer games and use pirated CD-ROMs in the name of offering computer training and consultation or cyber-cafe facilities.

The Chinese authorities traditionally like to keep a firm control on access to media and information, but the rapid boom in information technology and widespread software piracy have presented a growing problem for the government.

Earlier this month it emerged that China Net, the main state-controlled Internet service provider in Beijing, has been blocking access to the BBC news server.

Several other sites from western news organisations have been banned as well as sites containing pornographic or dissident material.

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