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China Bans On-line Game 'Football Manager'

China has banned the on-line game "Football Manager 2005," which the Ministry of Culture has determined as to "pose harm to the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

In the game, which was developed by game producer Sports Interactive, Ltd., Taipei of Taiwan, Hong Kong-Macao region and China's Tibet are represented as independent countries, according to a circular issued by the ministry. Such a distortion, even in a computer game, violates the relevant Chinese laws and is anathema to the Chinese government.

Although the game has not been publicly released in China, it has been disseminated on the Internet and downloaded pirated software CDs.

The ministry has ordered cultural departments across the country work with public security bureaus, industry and commerce,  telecom departments, and publishing offices to "investigate websites, computer software markets and Internet cafes, and to punish those disseminating or selling 'Football Manager 2005' with forfeiture and confiscation"

According to the circular, places providing this game will be penalized with a fine up to 30,000 RMB ( US$3,600) or cancellation of business license.

Internet service providers that do not prevent their users from downloading and installing the game after detection, will receive warning, a fine less than 15,000 yuan (US$1,800) or suspension of their business and recall of their license.

The ministry has "received strong protests from Chinese players" about the game, the circular says.

(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2004)

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