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Technology - Reuters
China Bans Video Game for Breach of Sovereignty

Tue Dec 7, 7:26 AM ET
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China, sensitive about issues of national sovereignty, has banned a computer sports game that classifies Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Tibet as countries and has threatened to fine Web sites that supply the game and net cafes that let patrons download it.

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The game, "Soccer Manager 2005," contained content that harmed China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and violated Chinese law, the Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

It did not say who made the video game, also called "Champion Soccer Manager 2005," but said it had yet to be released nationally. Any Web site that offered downloads of the game would be fined up to $1,210, Xinhua said, quoting an order from the Ministry of Culture.

Cybercafes that failed to prevent players from downloading, installing or playing the game would be fined as much as $1,815, it added.

Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau were listed as independent countries in the game, and the Himalayan region of Tibet, which Chinese troops occupied in 1950, is called "Chinese Tibet," which elevated it to the same level as China itself, Xinhua said.

Taiwan and the mainland have been politically separate for 55 years but Beijing considers the democratic island of 23 million people a rebel part of China's territory and has vowed to unite it with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Hong Kong, a one-time colony of Britain, was handed back to China in 1997. Macau, a former colony of Portugal, came back to the Chinese fold in 1999.

Online gaming exploded in China in recent years, and is hugely popular among urban youth. An estimated 13.8 million online games spent $240 million on their hobby last year and annual revenues are expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2008.

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