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The Internet Makes Juvenile Delinquents March 6, 2007

Posted by David in China.
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A March 6, 2007 BBC News story reported that “China will not allow any more internet cafes to open this year.” This decision has been made in an effort to help “combat the rising problem of internet addiction.”

Fair enough! Internet addiction is a real problem, and I am sure China experiences its share. However, I believe the true reason, for not allowing any more internet cafes, is a little more obvious.

“The number of people using the internet in China has grown by 30% over the last year, to 132 million, the state Internet Network Information Centre announced in December.” To put things into perspective, China is “on track to surpass the US online population in the next two years”, and for a country who’s government is set on controlling what the population reads and accesses, this reality is quite alarming.

On the same day Xinhua ran a very similar story (March 6, 2007), but also included the mention of a report by the Beijing reformatory for juvenile delinquents which “claims that 33.5 percent of its delinquent detainees were goaded into committing crimes, mostly robbery and rape, by violent online games or erotic websites.” Really?

I tend to think the Beijing reformatory in question is a little more than a “re-education camp”, and their reports should be read with that in mind. It is more likely that these “delinquents” used the internet to access unauthorized material more related to democracy, and freedom than to porn.

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