China eyes massive online crime sweep

Seeking to ferret out online games considered overly violent or unhealthy, China has targeted illegal web sites, computer markets and internet cafes as part of a campaign to rein in juvenile crime, an Associated Press report said.

The crackdown, christened 'Operation For Tomorrow,' is also aimed at web sites offering unregistered playing platforms or services for gamers that can be downloaded, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The plan will 'use the law to attack, investigate and prosecute "&brkbar; to cleanse the environment in which young people are raised and prevent and reduce juvenile crime and illegal activity,' the report said.

China strictly monitors the internet for anti-government speech and uncensored news reports, but the report made no mention of such content.

Xinhua said the plan especially targets school dropouts, runaways, children of inmates, and children left behind by parents who have migrated for work.

Unlicensed internet cafes, known as 'black web bars,' will be closed down and supervision will be tightened over legal cafes, the report said.

Internet cafes have been repeatedly targeted for breeding juvenile crime and promoting truancy, despite widely ignored rules barring anyone under 18 from admission.

Located in towns and small cities throughout China, internet cafes mainly offer online games that are popular among young people. Authorities have blamed the cafes for internet addiction and for encouraging juvenile crime as a way to earn money to play online games.

Online pornography will also be attacked under the crackdown, the report said.