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China bans online gangster games

Obscenity, gambling targeted in crackdown

China has banned websites featuring or publicizing online games that glorify gangs, obscenity or gambling — such as Electronic Arts’ “The Godfather” — and said it would severely punish any sites that “undermine morality and Chinese traditional culture.”

“These games encourage people to deceive, loot and kill, and glorify gangsters’ lives. It has a bad influence on youngsters,” said a report from the Culture Ministry carried on the Xinhua news agency.

It’s the latest in a campaign against what the Chinese Communist Party used to call “spiritual pollution” aimed at ensuring social stability ahead of the 60th anni of communist rule Oct. 1.

The ruling is particularly focused on online games with Mafia themes, where players can become “Godfather-like” figures.

The ministry ordered law enforcement bodies to step up oversight and harshly punish sites that continued to run such games.

China has more than 300 million Internet users, the world’s biggest population of webizens, and also has the world’s most comprehensive system of Web monitoring and censorship.

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