January 26, 2005

China Bans 50 Electronic Games

BEIJING (AFP) -- China has banned 50 electronic games, including FIFA Soccer 2005 and Microsoft's Age of Mythology, as part of a campaign to combat what it sees as harmful influences on the young, state media said.

As well as cracking down on computer software, the government will also focus this year on "illegal publications", Xinhua news agency said.

"This particularly concerns pirated textbooks, electronic publications and illegal journals that will have a negative influence on the youth," it said.

Twenty-six of the 50 games banned are pirated game software.

China seized about 230 million illegal publications, including pornographic material, and shut down 41,000 publishing houses and bookstores last year, state media has reported.

Pornography, religious and politically sensitive writings not registered with the government are considered illegal in China.

The government maintains tight control over publications and regularly carries out campaigns to confiscate unregistered books and audio-video products and shut down illegal publishing houses and bookstores.

By 2003 China had 13.8 million online game players, with sales of related products and services amounting to 1.3 billion yuan (157 million dollars).

China's Internet population reached 94 million at the end of last year and more than 30 percent are believed to be students.


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