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Monday, 6 May, 2002, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Shanghai cybercafes shut down
Chinese youths using internet
Internet usage is doubling every six months in China
Nearly 200 internet cafes have been closed down by the authorities in China's second largest city, Shanghai.

The latest clampdown targeted unlicensed cafes in the suburbs, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

One official said the premises were in areas overlooked in previous campaigns.

The move is reported to coincide with the launch by the central government of a drive against "harmful" content on the web, to prevent young people from being corrupted.

'Illegal activities'

Correspondents say the move underscores the government's desire to encourage the internet as a commercial medium without creating a forum for political dissent.

Communist Party officials have also suggested there is a growing trend for "illegal activities" to take place online.

Post for web company
According to one survey, China's home internet is second only to the US
Beijing requires internet bars to install software to block restricted web sites and record user activities.

Last year, the Chinese authorities reportedly shut down 17,000 internet cafes that failed to install the necessary software, the Associated Press news agency said.

Banned websites include those run by democracy activists, outlawed groups such as Falung Gong, and some foreign news organisations. Those containing pornographic material are also blocked.

Mushrooming use

According to government figures, about 30 million of China's 1.3 billion people now log on to the internet.

Called "wang ba" or "net bar" in Mandarin, internet cafes have sprung up in almost every Chinese city and many large villages.

The majority, however, are just one-room shops with personal computers.

See also:

23 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
China's home web use soars
05 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
China honours dead on the web
20 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
China acts on net 'addicts'
27 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Shanghai shuts cybercafes
21 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Jiang backs China's net growth
15 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
China charges web entrepreneur
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