China's software industry may soon classify all its online games
in an effort to protect children from violent and pornographic
The China Consumer's Association, China Software Industry
Association and Software World Magazine announced
Wednesday that they will work together to provide standards to
classify online games in order to create a healthier environment
The computer game industry is developing rapidly in China.
Online game revenues amounted to 1.3 billion yuan (US$159 million)
last year and are expected to reach 6.7 billion yuan (US$810
million) by 2007.
By the end of last year, China had 13.8 million online game
players, accounting for 20.2 percent of Internet users. The number
is forecast to grow to 41.8 million by 2007.
Some 80 percent of online game players are under the age of
At present, there is no rating system for online games and
anyone who can log onto the Internet can give any game a try. Most
of the games are imported and the content of some is widely
considered improper for young people, including material that is
violent, pornographic, or involves gambling or superstition.
For example, the popular online game "Fantastic Mah-jong" has
been described as "pornography-ridden."
"Adolescents are not mature enough to resist the influence of
unhealthy online games," said Professor Li Xinmin, of the China
National Children's Center. "They like to imitate people around
them but lack the ability to separate the virtual cyber world from
the real one."
Many children become too addicted to games to concentrate on
their studies. Some even spiral downward and commit crimes. One
example reported in Guangdong
Province's Shenzhen Evening News involved a local
15-year-old boy who robbed an old woman to get money to play online
Teachers and parents often worry about their children's
vulnerability, since most kids do not have access to good
"To develop a healthy online environment needs efforts from many
sides. Our government should issue laws to force game developers to
produce healthy games for children and Internet bars should not to
provide access to improper games," Li said.
(China Daily July 8, 2004)