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China Orders Unlicensed Internet Cafes Closed Nationwide
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The Ministry of Culture announced Friday that a new crackdown on unlicensed Internet cafes will be launched nationwide from July 1 to August 31.

Internet cafes without proper licenses are to be closed and owners will be prosecuted. Those providing sites for Internet cafes without permission will also face prosecution, said Liu Yuzhu, an official with the ministry.

Authorities will pay more attention to fire control equipment in cyber cafes during the action, he added.

A severe fire at an unlicensed Internet cafe in Beijing killed 25 people and injured 12 on June 16.

The action will be carried out by four government departments: the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Information Industries and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.

Legal Internet cafes are also required to reregister by October 1, Liu said.

According to the Ministry of Culture, there are more than 200,000 Internet bars in China, of which 46,000 are legally registered.

A legal Internet bar must have documents concerning safety granted by the police, a special license for culture-related businesses and a general business license granted by commerce regulators.

(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2002)

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