In an effort to curb violent and sexual content coming into the country, Chinese officials closed more than 1,500 Internet Cafes over the weekend on charges ranging from letting children play violent games to public displays of sexual content.
In addition to the closings, more than $12 million dollars in fines were raised against Internet Cafes across the country.
While the cafes that were closed are only a fraction of the nearly 2 million Internet Cafes in China´s blossoming high tech economy, the statement is clear: we are watching. China is one of the few countries in the world to actively filter Internet content.
Coupled with some of the world´s most stringent broadcast and decency laws, China´s Internet Cafe´s have long been walking a very thin line.
This weekend´s announcement makes it abundantly clear where the government stands, and it´s likely many of the Internet Cafes which escaped the fines and closings will be more vigilant than ever before of the content being accesses from their networks.
In addition to the closings, more than 18,000 Cafes had been issued the Chinese equivalent of Cease & Desist orders. The Chinese authorities have also closed more than 1,000 pornographic websites and arrested nearly 500 people in what is so far the largest crackdown of Internet usage since China started actively filtering web content.