30 Internet cafes sign up to strict new rules

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 July, 2002, 12:00am

Thirty of Beijing's 2,400 cyber-cafes have reopened after agreeing to strict new rules on 'unhealthy content' and setting aside a terminal for a police-appointed security officer for every 50 computers on the premises.

But one of the city's best-known Internet firms said it was pulling out of the business.

An official at the political office of the Beijing Cultural Bureau said yesterday that 30 cafes had reopened, after the closure of all venues in Beijing following a fire in an unlicensed cafe in Haidian district that killed 25 people last month.

The 30 cafes signed a lengthy agreement that includes a ban on smoking, entry restricted to over 18s, operating hours of 8am to midnight, and public signs displaying the new rules.

The cafes are not permitted software that blocks monitoring and computers must keep a record of all content for more than 60 days and filter 'unhealthy content'.

For every 50 computers, the cafes must reserve one for a security officer with a licence issued by the Public Security Bureau. They must not allow inflammable materials inside the cafes, or block doors and windows.

An official at China Sparkice, which operated a cafe in the China World complex in Beijing, said it had decided to withdraw from the cyber-cafe business. He said only: 'We have many reasons.'