[afp] China will launch a four-month crackdown on unapproved Internet cafes, state media said Thursday, signalling heightened vigilance ahead of two politically sensitive anniversaries.
The crackdown, lasting from June 1 to September 30, is aimed at preventing youths from gaining access to obscene and violent Web content, the China Daily said.
But it comes as authorities are bracing for the June 4 anniversary of the crackdown on 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1.
Chinese authorities have in recent years tried to keep pace with an explosion in Internet use and block many websites they deem politically unacceptable or offensive.
The crackdowns typically purport to shield Chinese youths from harmful content but are often invoked in conjunction with sensitive matters.
In April, for example, China issued new restrictions on the posting of "harmful" political or religious videos online, two weeks after graphic footage of Chinese police allegedly beating Tibetan monks circulated on the Web.
This summer's campaign, coordinated by several key national ministries, would be focused on rural areas, where many youths left behind by their migrant worker parents are increasingly accessing harmful content in illegal Internet bars, the report said.
China is widely expected to tighten security in Beijing and elsewhere for the upcoming anniversaries, with Tiananmen-related dissidents already reporting stepped-up restrictions this week.
China to crack down on Internet bars: state media