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Wed, Dec 13, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Beijing announces crackdown on online gaming distributors


China is tightening controls on its booming online game industry, requiring distributors to closely monitor game contents after some were found that included forbidden religious or political material, a state news agency said yesterday.

Distributors must obtain approval to release new games and submit monthly monitoring reports confirming that operators haven't added forbidden content, the Xinhua News Agency said. It cited a notice by the Press and Publication Administration.

China has 23 million online game players, up from 13.8 million in 2003, according to Xinhua. It said revenues this year are expected to reach 7 billion yuan (US$850 million).

The latest crackdown was prompted by ``a rash of problems with imported online games, some of which contain sensitive religious material or refer to territorial disputes,'' Xinhua said. It said some were criticized as pornographic or too violent.

The report gave no details about the religious and territorial issues, but the government is sensitive to references to Islam and Taiwan.

Regulators said distributors concealed the content of the games when applying for approval, and operators sometimes upgraded games with improper content, Xinhua said.

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