Nearly 50 percent of all teenage cyber-surfers in the capital of China browse the Internet for study purposes, while the other half indulge themselves in on-line games, chat and even porn websites, official sources show.
Some of the interviewees go to Internet bars to enjoy what they are interested in and escape from the supervision of their parents and teachers.
The revelation of the figures by Xu Xi'an, director of Beijing Education Commission at the ongoing fourth session of the 11th Beijing Municipal People's Congress, aroused heated arguments among delegates.
Zhang Rongfang, a local teacher, proposed that Beijing should clamp down on all Internet bars, following China's southern metropolis of Shenzhen, to protect youngsters from any unhealthy effects.
But other experts affirmed that the convenient and abundant Internet information sources play positive roles in developing youngsters' intelligence and widening their horizons.
It is the government's obligation to guide students' interests in healthy directions, and laws and regulations are also necessary to supervise the booming Internet business, said Xu.
Statistics show that by the end of last year, the Internet surfers in Beijing numbered over 4 million, accounting for 30 percent of permanent residents.
Beijing has issued special regulations, requiring all Internet bar managers to be censored by police bureaus. However, only eight bars have been authorized so far.
(People's Daily 02/11/2001)