Treaty of Nanking

Shanghai launches safety checks

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 June, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 June, 2002, 12:00am

The Shanghai Government yesterday followed Beijing's lead in inspecting all Internet cafes.

But Shanghai has no intention of closing commercial Internet centres.

'Immediately after the Beijing disaster, our bureau announced it would hold emergency inspections of fire prevention equipment at Net bars, movie theatres, and other entertainment facilities,' said an official at the Shanghai Bureau of Culture, Film, Television and Radio.

Inspections would be carried out with the Shanghai police, he said, warning: 'Buildings that do not meet safety standards will be closed immediately.'

Shanghai has staged sporadic crackdowns on Net cafes, which are required to report to a long list of government organs.

The Shanghai Daily quoted police as saying that, as in the capital, illegal Internet cafes were 'a huge problem'.

A police official added: 'While the city Government has repeatedly tried to shut down the cafes, they often reopen in a new location.'

Police were continuing a crackdown on unregistered cyber-cafes that began in spring, said Fang Dinghua of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau.

Earlier this month, a Shanghai official conceded that drives to close Internet centres that failed to conform with the growing maze of regulations had driven many underground - into buildings with fewer fire prevention facilities than commercial properties.

An official at the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Bureau said that following police raids, 'some operators have tried to hide Net bars in residential areas. This makes it much harder for us to track and find them.'