A new crackdown on Internet cafes

Bruce Einhorn

Well that didn’t take long. On May 5th, bombs exploded at two Internet cafes in Hefei, the capital of Anhui province in southeastern China. Two people died. I mentioned in a New Tech in Asia post a few days later that the Chinese government has, for several years now, been trying to crack down on Internet cafes, since many mandarins see them as dangerous places where teenagers spend too much time playing online games or accessing porn or other forbidden content. The bombings came just when it seemed to some people that the government might be relaxing a bit and preparing to take a more lenient attitude toward Internet cafes, which (because of the relatively low level of PC ownership in China) play a vital role in the strategies of Chinese Internet companies. After the explosions, though, I said that liberalization was likely to be on the back burner.

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