But a renewed government crackdown is also linked to a desire to maintain control over sources of information Zhi Shichun is a 10-year-old Beijing schoolboy. Although he has a computer at home, he has never been online. When asked if he has been to an internet cafe he replied: 'My classmates and I have never been to one. Our teachers told us internet cafes are dangerous places.' His parents reinforce his attitude against internet cafes, or wangba. 'I would never allow my son to go to an internet cafe,' said Shichun's mother Yang Mingming. 'What business would a little boy have in such a place?' 'I don't want him falling in love with someone online or being taken in by swindlers. These cafes are dangerous places. I've read so many media reports about problems brought by the internet.' After 24 students died in an internet cafe fire in Beijing in June 2002, the central government initiated the first nationwide crackdown on the licensing and management of them. The murder of 17 teenagers lured by a serial killer from internet cafes and video arcades in Henan province last year again put pressure on the government to act. Just before the Lunar New Year, action was again taken to ensure that the government's regulations were being followed - especially the restrictions to keep juveniles away. To show it meant business, the Ministry of Culture said that any internet cafe found admitting juveniles would be closed and repeat offenders would lose their business licences. When the government started the crackdown in 2002, more than 200,000 internet cafes across the country were shut down. The campaign has since been extended twice - first to the end of last month and then to the end of this month. Operators were not surprised by the latest crackdown. 'There have been countless inspections since tighter regulations were introduced in November 2002,' said Kevin Li, manager of an internet cafe in Chaoyang district in Beijing. 'We are required to put up a sign saying juveniles are not allowed in and keep a record of the names and identity card numbers of all customers,' he said, flicking through pages of the stores' registry. Mr Li's cafe can seat more than 100 customers at any one time. Wang Lin, 19, was among the 50 or so customers quietly tapping away at one of the terminals in mid-afternoon. 'I haven't seen any young guys in here for a long time,' she said. 'They are no longer allowed in. But playing internet games and chatting online are not bad. 'I don't understand why the government insists on portraying the internet as a great social evil.' Professor Li Dun, executive director of the Tsinghua University Social Policy Research Institute, said the government's extended crackdown could be tied with the authorities' desire to maintain control over the spread of information. 'But it will not be successful,' he said. 'People will find ways of accessing information they want.'