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Saturday, 23 September, 2000, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
China fights game arcades
arcade
Chinese parents want arcades banned altogether
By Duncan Hewitt in Shanghai

Officials in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have announced that they are to close down more than 1,500 video game arcades out of concerns about their influence on young people.

Some 80% of the city's arcades will be affected by the decision, the latest clampdown by authorities in China.

No southern Chinese town would be complete without its video arcades.

shanghai
Shanghai authorities have clamped down on nightlife
Their blaring music and garish images are part of daily life for many teenagers.

But according to the Guangzhou Daily newspaper, parents and teachers told a provincial conference that the arcades were having a bad influence.

They warned that students were losing interest in their studies and making friends with the wrong people.

Lifetime ambition

One teacher said 90% of his pupils visited video game arcades and most students now said their ambition after leaving school was to run an arcade of their own.

After a two-month investigation of Guangzhou's 2,000 video game parlours, the authorities announced that more than half were in breach or regulations, particularly over the theoretical age limit of 18 years.

They said all but 400 of the largest venues would be closed down.

Yet the Guangzhou Daily said many parents and teachers were demanding a ban on the entire industry.

Others, however, warned that internet cafes would only fill the gap.

Officials said they would concentrate on targeting the producers of video arcade machines in the hope that the industry would gradually fade away.

The announcement follows the closure of 500 computer parlours and over 100 internet bars in Shanghai as part of a national campaign against illegal entertainment.

In the latest move, on Friday night, 2,500 police raided bars and night-clubs in central Guangzhou in a search for prostitution, gambling and drugs.

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See also:

14 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Shanghai drug crackdown
29 Apr 00 | Education
Video games 'valid learning tools'
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