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New Law to Fight Internet Addiction
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With more and more youngsters spending hour after hour online, new legislation is planned to combat juvenile Internet addiction.

Members of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) yesterday for the second time discussed amending the Law on the Protection of Minors.

Governments should adopt new measures to organize research into new technology which could help prevent people younger than 18 from getting addicted to online games, according to a new prescription added to a fresh draft of the law.

The new draft also forbids minors from entering Internet cafes, which have become hotbeds for online gaming and chatting, and even crimes such as gambling and drug use.

During yesterday's NPC session, Law Committee Chairman Yang Jingyu said he believed Internet cafes play a negative role in juvenile's growth.

If there were no Internet cafes, students would be able to concentrate on their studies better, he said, adding that if they need to use the Internet they can do it at home or at school.

Li Lianning, deputy secretary general and a member of the NPC Standing Committee, advised that schools should have more computers available for students to use, to tempt them away from Internet cafes.

But older teenagers, aged 16 to 18, should be allowed in Internet cafes, or the law will be unenforceable, argued NPC Standing Committee member Ye Rutang.

"For teenagers older than 16, who already earn their own money, it is unreasonable to forbid them to enter Internet cafes," he said.

In fact, prohibiting people younger than 18 from visiting Internet cafes would be impossible to enforce in real life, according to Ye.

Cao Zhiqiang, an NPC deputy, expressed his fear that young would-be information technology talents could be stifled by the campaign, if they were not allowed into Internet cafes.

Other amendments

As well as changing the Law on the Protection of Minors, NPC Standing Committee members yesterday discussed a draft amendment to the Property Law for the sixth time.

Giving equal protection to private and public property was fixed in the draft.

The draft also said that garages in residential areas should first be offered to homeowners, instead of being rented to others by real estate developers.

(China Daily October 30, 2006)

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