Beijing: China's culture ministry has issued an order to all websites prohibiting them to run, publish or offer links to online games featuring mafia-like gangs, and threatened "severe punishment" for those who violate the ban.Such games violated regulations on Internet administration, because they "advocate obscenity, gambling, or violence", and "undermine morality and Chinese traditional culture", said a circular posted on the ministry's website.
Some popular online games with the themes of "mafia" or "godfather" were running on some websites, where players took the roles of killers and gangsters, according to the circular."These games encourage people to deceive, loot and kill, and glorify gangster life. They are a bad influence on youngsters," it read.Internet operators should immediately stop running, promoting or offering links to the illegal games, it said.The ministry ordered its law enforcement bodies to step up oversight and harshly punish those sites that continued to run such games.As of Tuesday, many websites offering such games had stopped them.Many Internet users, however, expressed anger as the games disappeared suddenly.The crackdown is part of a wider campaign against pornography and what the government deems "unhealthy" online content, which often includes any political views that differ from those of the ruling Communist Party.China has an estimated 200 million players of online games.