A deputy to China's top legislature urges the earlier enactment of a law in protection of minor netizens from the harms incurred from the Internet.
"We have to resort to the law to create a wholesome environment for the youngsters and keep them away from harmful information on the Internet," said Zheng Huiqiang, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC) and vice president of Shanghai Institute of Applied Technologies, at the ongoing NPC session on Sunday.
Zheng said China's prevalent laws and regulations have proven quite useful and effective in protecting minors in many aspects except the network. "The new law should spell out substantial measures for the protection of minor netizens by the state, society, family and school."
China's Internet population had reached 94 million by the end of 2004 and 19 percent of them were under 18 years old.
Chinese authorities shut down 47,000 illegal Internet bars between February and December 2004, according to sources with the Ministry of Culture.
During the nationwide crackdown which was launched by several government departments including ministries of culture, education and public security, 21,000 Internet bars were barred from opening until they underwent an overhaul and 2,131 business licenses were revoked, the culture ministry said earlier in March.
Internet bars without legal business licenses and those that have been admitting minors and engaged in dissemination of harmful cultural information have been the focus of China's crackdown, which aims to create more wholesome and safer environment for the minors.
Government agencies have been working hard to promote the development of chain Internet bars in a bid to phase out illegally operated businesses through market forces, according to the Ministry of Culture.
(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2005)