BEIJING, China (AP) -- China has shut down more than 8,600 unlicensed Internet cafes since February, many of them for admitting juveniles in violation of the law, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.
"Any such place allowing juveniles to enter or allowing unhealthy information to spread through the Internet will face rigid, severe penalty," Xinhua said.
China also bans Internet cafes within 200 meters of primary and high schools, on fears that Web surfing could expose children to pornography or get them hooked on online video games.
Internet cafes that admit minors "have brought great harm to the mental health of teenagers and interfered with the school teaching, which has aroused strong reaction from the public," the General Administration for Industry and Commerce said in a statement, as reported by Xinhua.
In one case last month, an Internet cafe in the western city of Chongqing was fined after two teenagers spent more than 48 hours playing an online video game, then fell asleep on a railroad track and were killed by a train.
China strictly controls information in the nation's media and holds Internet service providers responsible for online content.
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