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Websites banned from featuring Mafia games

CHINA has banned Websites featuring or publicizing online games that glamorize Mafia gangs, saying violators will be severely punished.

The Culture Ministry said such games "advocate obscenity, gambling or violence," and "undermine morality and Chinese traditional culture," the Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

"These games encourage people to deceive, loot and kill, and glorify gangsters' lives. It has a bad influence on youngsters," the report said, citing a ministry circular.

In games such as "Godfather" or "Mafia" people can play at being hitmen or gangsters, Xinhua said.

"The ministry ordered its law enforcement bodies to step up oversight and harshly punish those sites that continue to run such games," it added.

Many Websites have now stopped offering such games. Blocked games include "Godfather" on, "Jianghu" (ganster community in Chinese) on, and "Gangster" on, Xinhua said.

The online game industry in China is expected to grow by between 30 percent and 50 percent this year, with a sales revenue of 24 billion yuan (US$3.51 billion) to 27 billion yuan, according to officials.

China has about 200 million online game players and over 300 million Internet users.


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