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China orders cybercafes to shut down

SHARE China orders cybercafes to shut down

SHANGHAI — China has shut down nearly 2,000 Internet cafes across the country and has ordered 6,000 to suspend operations and make changes, state media said today.

Anonymous cybercafes are popular because they allow people to evade tough content laws, whose infringement on a personal homepage or message board authorities are likely to track to its source.

The Shanghai Daily said the move, China's second major clampdown on the popular cafes in a little more than a year, aims to regulate the Internet service market in line with official rules.

More than 56,800 Internet cafes or bars have been inspected during a probe that began in April, the newspaper said.

Elsewhere, police detained at least six people on Tiananmen Square in central Beijing today, the second anniversary of the start of China's crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual group.

It wasn't clear if those detained were Falun Gong members, but the square has been the site of protests by the group.

In a separate incident, police arrested a second dissident since Beijing was awarded the 2008 summer Olympics a week ago, a Hong Kong human rights group said today.

Wang Rongqing, 50, was detained in Hangzhou city in eastern Zhejiang province Wednesday, the Information Center for Human Rights & Democracy said.

He will face charges of "prostitution activities," but his family and other dissidents rejected the charges.