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Over Half a Decade, China Closed 130,000 Internet Cafes 121

Posted by timothy
from the of-by-and-for-the-people's-assembly dept.
angry tapir writes "China shut down more than 130,000 illegal Internet cafes in the country over a six year period, as part of crackdown to control the market, according to a new Chinese government report. Internet cafes in China are highly regulated by the government, which can issue and revoke their licenses. Authorities have made it illegal for Internet cafes to serve minors under the age of 18, stating that the Web's content could endanger their well-being."
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Over Half a Decade, China Closed 130,000 Internet Cafes

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  • How is China different than Gaddafi's Libya? Oh right, it's far worse. But they have no oil. And they're not weak. And they allow the West to exploit their their people, as long as the CCP get their cut.
    • by iamhassi (659463)
      "And they allow the West to exploit their their people, as long as the CCP get their cut."

      And they will destroy themselves. How long will 2 billion people live under such oppression?
      • Before you go screaming about oppression, consider the scale of the numbers.

            In 2002, there were about 46,000 licensed internet cafes, and 150,000 unlicensed internet cafes. (Ref: Time Magazine) [time.com]

            In 2000, there were about 40,000 licensed cafes, growing to 168,000 in 2009.
            (Ref: Investors Hub) [advfn.com]

            If you apply the same ratio of licensed vs unlicensed from the Time article (3.2:1), it could be extrapolated that there were also approximately 538,000 unlicensed cafes. So if 130,000 were closed down over a period of 5 years, that would be a whopping 26,000 per year. So roughly 5% of the illegal cafes were shut down. That could easily be attributed to disgruntled customers, ex-employees, failure to pay bribes to local law enforcement, or law enforcement needing to show that they are making an effort against such illegal activity.

            Someone else can work out the trends to show my numbers are a little off, but not terribly far.

            These tiny numbers in relation to the size of the country, population, and number of cafes are insignificant.

            I'd be willing to bet similar trends could be shown in the US relating to liquor license violations, marijuana grow house busts, and other associated nefarious activities. If it weren't China and the Internet, it wouldn't have even been news.

            If you're going worry about such things, worry about those who end up in prison here in the US on petty charges, that range from perfectly legal to gray areas in many other states and countries.

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          http://xkcd.com/605/ [xkcd.com]

          There's a danger in just assuming that trends continue without verification.

        • by PiSkyHi (1049584)
          Yes, you are probably a little off - it seems that you are suggesting that no Internet cafe started unlicensed before gaining a license during this period. your figure of 5% could have an error margin as high as 1000%
          • by JWSmythe (446288)

                You'd have to also calculate in attrition. Stores come and go, it's just the way it is. So some open, some close, both legal and illegal.

                There's no way for us to get the accurate numbers. It's not like China is exactly open about the happenings there, and definitely we couldn't get accurate numbers on illegal operations. Just like in the US, most of those numbers are swiftly extracted from the posterior orifice of a politician.

      • by russotto (537200) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:59AM (#35541700) Journal

        And they will destroy themselves. How long will 2 billion people live under such oppression?

        Indefinitely. Worse conditions have been the lot of most of the human race for most of history. Sixty-year-old North Korea is far worse.

      • Exactly, it is oppression, it is after all a communist country after all. Two hand in hand unfortunately. Only way they can succeed is drop it communism, like Cuba has finally and the rest of the world. The odd part is China goes through cycles where they open there borders then when they have mass societal unrest they close themselves off from the rest of the world. They've done this several times as far history is concerned. I hope they can finally do it for real this time, for the peoples sake.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I know China is far from perfect, but to compare the Chinese government currently to Gaddafi who is using aircraft and tanks to obliterate Libyans is a stretch.

      • by the linux geek (799780) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @04:05AM (#35540532)
        How? They've demonstrated many times that they're willing to use military force against the population. Or have you forgotten that whole Tienanmen Square thing?
        • by Anonymous Coward

          The USA have demonstrated many times that they're willing to use military force against the natives. You almost murdered them all.

        • Have you forgotten the whole Waco thing?

      • China are so skilled as oppressors, they don't *need* to use aircraft and tanks. They have perfected the art of propaganda.
      • You're right. Khaddafi should be compared to Abraham Lincoln. /troll
        • by quenda (644621)

          You're right. Khaddafi should be compared to Abraham Lincoln. /troll

          Troll or not, your comment is valid. The Chinese have begun to remove statues of Mao. How long before Americans do the same for Lincoln?
          The US civil war led to the deaths of millions. For what? It would only have been a matter of time before the impoverished southern states came back, grovelling for re-admittance. Yet Lincoln is a hero, not a mass-murderer. With this attitude I don't think we will see Cheney & Bush in The Hague any time soon.

          • by zill (1690130)

            The Chinese have begun to remove statues of Mao.

            Actually in 1999 the Chinese introduced a new series of bills [wikipedia.org] that prominently feature Mao on every denomination. This was the first time in history that renminbi featured a real person's portrait.

            Furthermore, Mao's portrait [wikipedia.org] has been displayed at the Tiananmen gate ever since founding of the country.

      • by kestasjk (933987) *
        I guess you just don't place as much importance on internet cafes as we do..
      • by zill (1690130)
        Because the CPC never used tanks to obliterate their own people [wikipedia.org], right?
    • Your right, the west should be quick to judge the foreign cultures we have little personal experience of and take the moral high ground; After all acts like the crippling economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by the UN after bombing their country into the stone age only caused an estimated million civilian casualties of which an estimated 500,000+ were children.

      But how can the Chinese live with themselves, not allowing children under the age of 18 to visit Internet cafe's? It is much more important we qui

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        IMO the "West" has lost the moral high ground forever, since Iraq. Now anything you say can and will be used against you.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          The fact that the west has lost the moral high ground does not raise the moral ground of China. The fact that someone lives in or is from a 'bad place' does not make their arguments more or less true. I'm so tired of "Oh yeah? Well you ...." arguments.

          • The fact that the west has lost the moral high ground does not raise the moral ground of China.

            No but it certainly does not validate our Western opinion, also worth considering are other facts such as how China has half the murder rate of the USA and much of Europe and roughly double the happy planet index value as well as consistently scoring higher in life satisfaction surveys. At what point in any of this do we become qualified to criticise their way of living?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate [wikipedia.org]

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Planet_Index [wikipedia.org]

            • by delineal (1970468)
              In the USA, we don't need to be "qualified" to criticize anything. Simply put, in the USA, our expectations are higher because there is more potential and more possibility. In China, if you're not at the top of the class, your life options suddenly become much more limited (source: Chinese girlfriend). Everyone in China knows it to be true and accepts it as the way of things. In the USA, your opportunities are only limited by your own drive and life choices. It's easy to be "happy" when you don't know
              • by Maiq (2021128)
                I don't understand the point of your post. I apologize. What do higher expectations have to do with our opinions being valid or not valid? In the USA your choices are also limited by more than your drive and life choices. Are you telling me that right now the unemployment rate is so high in America because all those people made poor life decisions or are lazy? Everyone in any country has more choices if they are "at the top of the class" (what kind of class do you mean?) And everyone in China does not 'a
                • by delineal (1970468)
                  Sorry for the belated reply, but since you asked questions I felt I should followup. My comment should be parsed like this: The first sentence (about right to criticize) was commentary addressing the last sentence of the parent post. The remaining sentences address the address the assertion that people in China are happier. I never said anything about unemployment or laziness. I didn't call anyone in China or USA lazy. My comment about "top of class" was referring to the competitiveness required to att
      • by russotto (537200)

        Your right, the west should be quick to judge the foreign cultures we have little personal experience of and take the moral high ground;

        Looks like the cultural relativists are out in force today.

        After all acts like the crippling economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by the UN after bombing their country into the stone age only caused an estimated million civilian casualties of which an estimated 500,000+ were children.

        Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. Why do you keep focusing on such a small conflict? For starters, let'

        • Looks like the cultural relativists are out in force today.

          Hypocrisy is ok but relativism is not? Or is the real bugbear in the house merely patriotism?

          Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. Why do you keep focusing on such a small conflict? For starters, let's consider Korea instead.

          Iraq is more relevant as it is comparably recent and many of the same people are still in power.

          • by russotto (537200)

            Looks like the cultural relativists are out in force today.

            Hypocrisy is ok but relativism is not? Or is the real bugbear in the house merely patriotism?

            When hypocrisy consists of advocating good despite having done evil, it's better than the relativism of refusing to admit the existence of evil.

            Iraq is more relevant as it is comparably recent and many of the same people are still in power.

            That would be George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and José MarÃa Aznar?

            But that's a

    • But they are right, the internet's content probably should not be available to people under 18 without some sort of monitoring.

  • Hmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by euyis (1521257) <euyis@in[ ]ity-game.com ['fin' in gap]> on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:10AM (#35540342)

    Authorities have made it illegal for Internet cafes to serve minors under the age of 18,

    And the last time I went to a internet cafe I was given a vaild ID number of someone over 18 along with the name associated to log in when I explained that my ID card's missing and a new one is not yet available. Didn't even bother asking me to give my number - guess they do the same when the minors come to play online games.

    • Internet regulations are increasing all over under all sorts of excuses. From "copyright violations" or "protecting children", the authorities are afraid. Only information runs over the internet, only communications. Unbridled, uncensored, uncontrolled, unsupervised information and communication is a threat to whoever has something to hide, reason to be afraid of what people are thinking or discussing. Mass group communications leads to mass group opinion making, coordinating, and planning. As soon as de
    • About the same thing happened with me. I recently moved back to China and thus did not have my ID card yet. My little brother went and got us both into an Internet gaming place with no questions asked. Of course, it seems that most of the people there did nothing more than to play Counterstrike, World of Warcraft, or little puzzle games all day, and I'm well over 21, but I don't really consider this a big deal. It reminds me of going to R rated movies back in the days where you knew your friends working at
  • by DWMorse (1816016) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:10AM (#35540344) Homepage

    Let's not jump to conclusions that this is all about -The Internet-.

    Unregulated coffee can be DANGEROUS.

    • Coffee is small-time. The 32oz Monster energy drinks come with a warning saying 'Do not consume more than one per day'.

      That warning is pretty accurate, by the way. Even I get a little off after more than that, and I usually handle excess of those types of things fairly well.
      • That warning is pretty accurate, by the way.

        Only if you're a moron. The 32oz have 320mg of caffeine, less than a full pot of coffee. The fuckton of sugar in it is more hazardous to your health. Those warnings are there for morons.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Unregulated coffee can be DANGEROUS.

      Doesn't anyone on slashdot take things seriously anymore? You're probably sipping your coffee and laughing -- but coffee contains very high quantities of dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO), which can kill in high amounts. See here:

      http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html [dhmo.org]

      Thanks to careful forethought, most grocery stores sell DHMO-free coffee. This is also why Starbucks puts so much other crap in theirs -- a lot less room for DHMO.

  • by Xenna (37238) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:25AM (#35540382)

    When I was in China last, six years ago, and went to visit internet cafe's, all the other people ever seemed to be doing was playing games.

    • by JWSmythe (446288)

          Of course they were. They were farming gold or whatever in (thinking back 6 years) for World of Warcraft and Second Life.

      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        Of course they were. They were farming gold or whatever in (thinking back 6 years) for World of Warcraft and Second Life.

        1) How do you mine gold or whatever in Second life?
        2) Why would you mine gold or whatever in Second life?

        • It's just an expression. It means to play an online game for profit by performing very menial tasks for long hours, then selling your gains for real currency. It can be done, but to turn a profit requires you have players willing to spend very long hours at the game (This isn't for fun: It's a job) performing very repetative actions for a tiny, tiny pay. Thus why it's done in China, where labor costs are very low. It's easy to get very rich in-game if you can spent eighteen hours a day playing, every day. T
          • by JWSmythe (446288)

                Exactly.

                The online currency in Second Life could be traded for real money, which didn't even involve a gray market. There was (is?) a legitimate exchange.

                Between that, sales of virtual merchandise, virtual gambling and virtual prostitution, there was serious money to be made there.

          • by Ash-Fox (726320)

            It's just an expression. It means to play an online game for profit by performing very menial tasks for long hours, then selling your gains for real currency.

            I fail to grasp how this can be applied to Second life still. There isn't any 'very menial tasks' that I'm aware of where you can make money.

      • by quenda (644621)

            Of course they were. They were farming gold or whatever in (thinking back 6 years) for World of Warcraft and Second Life.

        100 million urban Chinese kids were gold-farmers? I find that hard to believe.

      • by wisty (1335733)

        Not really. A lot are just "little emperors" - only children (boys to boot!) who can do no wrong. Oh, except they have to study 18 hours a day, but a few rebel, for some reason.

    • by RichM (754883)

      When I was in China last, six years ago, and went to visit internet cafe's, all the other people ever seemed to be doing was playing games.

      Or possibly stealing everything from your WoW account...

  • ...does six years a 'half a decade' make?

    My math teachers taught me that a decade was 10 years, and half of 10 was five...
    • ...does six years a 'half a decade' make?

      Maybe the original summary said "Over Over Half a Decade..." until the over-zealous grammar check eliminated the repetition.

      • Replace the initial 'over' with 'in', make it read 'In over half a decade', problem solved :D
        • by metacell (523607)

          That wouldn't be grammatical... "in half a decade" means "half a decade into the future", while "over half a decade" means "during the course of half a decade".

    • by realkiwi (23584)

      That there be inflation! Or maybe a /. special offer: ask for 10 years, get two for free!

    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:59AM (#35540504)

      ...does six years a 'half a decade' make?

      My math teachers taught me that a decade was 10 years, and half of 10 was five...

      You're apparently not familiar with the "baker's decade".

    • ...does six years a 'half a decade' make?

      My math teachers taught me that a decade was 10 years, and half of 10 was five...

      Six years, rounded to the nearest half decade, is half a decade.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        You would be amazed at the amount of people who equate pedantry with intelligence.
  • 130,000 Internet cafes in China, eh? Wonder if a correlation could be made to the levels of gold farming and forum spam for fake sports shoes and designer hand bags?
  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:54AM (#35540480)

    Authorities have made it illegal for Internet cafes to serve minors under the age of 18, stating that the Web's content could endanger their well-being.

    I'm surprised no one has made a crack yet about Apple's App Store rules regarding apps that allow access to the Internet. After all, they get an automatic 17+ rating. I'd make the joke myself, but I'm tired and I'm a fanboy of Apple, so I'll leave it to others.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by UBfusion (1303959)

      Unfortunately there's no joke to be made... the internet is a dangerous place. Pretending it's not makes it even more dangerous.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Information is not dangerous to human beings. By pretending that it is, we surrender our intellectual autonomy to censors.

        The sooner we start teaching children to think critically about everything they see, hear, and read, the better off our society will be. There is no better place for them to learn that lesson than the Internet.

        • by improfane (855034) *

          No, your personal information is dangerous to you when in the hands in other people. Dangerous in terms of the UK Census being ran by Lockheed Martin and the possibility of McCarthyism.

          It's not dangerous for you to have access to information.

        • by UBfusion (1303959)

          Information itself may not be dangerous, but I still insist the Internet is a dangerous place, just because such a small percentage of it is useful information. And when I say "useful" I mean useful for one's cognitive development.

          Unfortunately it's impossible to teach children to "think before you click". Or "think while watching TV". Any visual stimulus is a thunderstorm to the brain and does affect its development.

          Al you can do is provide counter-motives so that children learn to avoid becoming passive c

  • To my poor understanding of english as a second language, an "illegal Internet café" is a café that operates without a licence, and not a café that violates its licence terms (not serving minors). Am I wrong?

    • Probably yes and no. Illegal does mean no license, but if the penalty for violating the terms of the license is the automatic revocation of the license, then you become illegal.

  • by Clsid (564627) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @04:38AM (#35540620)
    The article is not reflecting why these measures came to pass. They are trying to block minors from spending all day long playing World of Warcraft, Counterstrike and similar addictive games, not the web itself. You can be in favor or against games like that, but one thing is certain, they are truly addictive and in my country, Venezuela, they don't allow minors with school uniforms into Internet cafes either. See the problem is that in countries like this, the "cafe" part is meaningless. People use computers in these places since they might not have a net connection at home, the games would have incredible lag and a myriad of other issues mostly related to money and available infrastructure. It is the same way in most developing countries.
    • Not only do they limit access to internet cafes, but to a whole assortment of other "entertainment“ venues.

      Even video arcades (places quite strongly associated with children) are age restricted here.

      This has nothing to do with the usual "evil China" banter about censorship, et al. and everything to do with conservative "family" values.

      China is so conservative, it makes Ronald Reagan look like a communist. (Note: I live in mainland China)

  • Good to know China also has assholes who are using the "think of the children" excuse to screw up people's lives.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      At least in China it's because all those damned children playing Starcraft are coming in late for their shifts at the factories...
      • by lennier1 (264730)

        If they don't, people at Engadget will be bitching about how they had to wait a few days more for their iPhone to arrive.

  • Authorities have made it illegal for Internet cafes to serve minors under the age of 18, stating that the Web's content could endanger their well-being.

    I think there was a mix-up in translation here... "their" being the Chinese government, not the minors, right?

    • by kwoff (516741)
      And which communist-party leader owns the internet cafe chains which Yu Yi would like to promote?
    • by v1 (525388)

      I was just thinking the same thing with the minors on the internet, "we haven't finished brainwashing them yet."

  • Why do I get advertisements in my RSS reader? The reason why I subscribed to Slashdot RSS in the first place, because mobile internet traffic is f***ing expensive here
  • considering all the... STUFF... I've seen on the intarwebs over the decade I've been on it.... I don't think it's that stupid to say "minors @ internet == HAS to include parental supervision"... I don't think that's stupid at all...
    • by mijelh (1111411)
      I recollect that, when a stripling, we were exposed to the internets without the aid of the elder. That's how we become men.
  • I find it a good idea to make Internet only for 18+, so we can finally stop the stupid debates of content filtering, content ratings, etc. As I can see the only way children can access to the internet is only if the adults are get a connection. A child can't get DSL or any other connection, it's always the parents which get the connection from the ISP and allowing their children to access the internet. So why should other adults suffer if the parents won't check what websites their children access?

    Please ma

    • I find it a good idea to make Internet only for 18+, so we can finally stop the stupid debates of content filtering, content ratings, etc. ...

      Please make the internet an "adult zone" and just stop all discussions about internet ratings and content filtering.

      While we're at it, let's make television, radio, and all printed and recorded media part of that adult zone as well.

      Problem solved!

  • It's so true, giving internet access to impressionable youth is dangerous to totalitarian governments. Look at the middle east.
  • Wouldn't it take both fewer keystrokes and less calculations on the part of reader if you just wrote the number of years like a normal human would?

    Ass.

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