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China Closes over 3300 Internet Cafes
More than 3,300 Internet cafes throughout China were closed during the past half year for safety reasons, a Chinese official said here Thursday.

The nationwide overhaul of Internet cafes in the last six months directly resulted from a fatal fire in a Beijing Internet cafe in June this year, which killed 25 people and injured 12 others.

About 45,000 Internet cafes were inspected during the past six months, with nearly 12,000 of them suspended for shape-up and more than 3,300 closed, said Li Rongrong, minister in charge of China’s State Economic and Trade Commission in a report on workplace safety to the 31st meeting of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC) Thursday.

Workplace safety was always a key issue the Chinese government was deeply concerned with, Li said.

During the past two years, China has set up a more effective workplace supervision system, enacted a series of new regulations and laws, increased investment to businesses for technical renovations and equipment updating, and enhanced law enforcement.

"With all these efforts, China's record of workplace safety is improving," Li said. "The increasing tendency to serious accidents has been completely reversed and the number of fatal accidents and death toll reduced year by year," he added.

From January to October this year, the number of people killed in accidental fires reduced by 5.3 percent year-on-year. The death toll at county- or town-owned coalmines and from road and shipping accidents also dropped considerably.

Li said even though China's efforts had paid off, it still faced great challenges in this regard.

"Workplace safety is a long-term and difficult goal and needs unremitting efforts," he added.

(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2002)

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