Tools: Save | Print | " target="_blank" class="style1">E-mail | Most Read
Internet Cafe Ban Sparks Wide Debate
Adjust font size:

A county's ban of all its cyber cafes to help net-addicted youngsters has sparked controversy, with some people stressing such places are a source of information and it is unfair to close them down.

The remote Fangshan County in north China's Shanxi Province closed down its seven net cafes in May.

The move came after the cyber centres failed to prevent underage students from coming in.

So the Beijing-based newspaper Democracy and Law Times said yesterday.

The clampdown happened after a large number of youngsters went to the cafes to play illegal games and look at pornography, abandoning their studies.

Students must be 18 to go online in an Internet cafe.

The ban had both supporters and critics. Parents and teachers in the county generally praised it.

"Students who used to indulge in the Internet for hours a day have now returned to school, and are making progress in their studies," said He Xiaoqing, a teacher at the No 2 Middle School in Fangshan.

But some residents who often went to Internet cafes said the ban has made their daily lives inconvenient.

"Net cafes gave us a platform for communication and getting all kinds of information. Now, with every cafe closed down, our daily lives are less diverse," a citizen surnamed Zhang said on an online forum.

Zhang added that in many less developed counties, buying a computer and getting access to the Internet was still beyond the capacity of an ordinary citizen.

For some experts in law and sociology, banning all Internet cafes was not the best way to deal with the problem of protecting youngsters while at the same time developing the centres.

"The Internet is an indispensable part of a modern information society. The management of it involves a long-term effort including strict regulations and effective enforcement. A simple clampdown cannot solve all problems," said Qiu Baochang, a lawyer with the Beijing-based Huijia Law Firm, told China Daily.

"Even if related bureaus decide to close down an Internet cafe, they still need to collect sufficient proof of law infringements and follow the correct administrative procedures," added Qiu.

According to Qiu, a local commercial administrative bureau should ensure net cafes abide by China's Internet cafe regulations, which require them to keep underage visitors away. And all of society, including parents and schools, should be responsible for caring for and disciplining children.

"We cannot just blame net cafes for all wrongdoings," said Qiu.

In 2004, the city of Chibi in Central China's Hubei Province shut down all of its 57 net cafes.

However, the move was rejected by the supervisory provincial bureau which said the ban was "not feasible," reported local newspaper the Wuhan Morning Post.

The latest survey released by the China Internet Network Information Centre showed 30 million of the country's 200 million primary and middle school students were regular netizens by June. They accounted for nearly a quarter of the country's 123 million netizens.

A previous survey by the Jiangsu Provincial Youngster Psychology Research Centre in May showed that 48.5 percent of student netizens played games and 36 percent were engaged in "chatting" online. About 10 per cent of those surveyed admitted to visiting pornographic websites.

(China Daily October 9, 2006)

Tools: Save | Print | " target="_blank" class="style1">E-mail | Most Read

Related Stories
Internet Cafes in Beijing Under Scrutiny
Three Suspected of Conducting Internet Cafe Blasts Captured
Minors Face Ban from Internet Cafes
SiteMap | About Us | RSS | Newsletter | Feedback

Copyright © All Rights Reserved E-mail: Tel: 86-10-88828000 京ICP证 040089号