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UPDATED: 17:05, January 19, 2005
China to shut down gambling websites
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China will launch a nationwide overhaul of access to gambling websites and will crack down on-line gambling, the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) said.

Xi Guohua, MII vice minister, said to limit both domestic and overseas gambling websites, the ministry will enhance administration and monitoring of the Internet and tighten related approval and filing procedures.

Any institution which intentionally provides services for on-line gambling will get serious punishment including the loss of its business license, Xi said.

Gambling websites set up by foreign companies will be shut down, and gambling facilities will be demolished, he said.

The Chinese government last week announced it would launch a "relentless fight" against gambling in a bid to smash the rampant gambling among corrupt Chinese officials and state-owned company executives. It cited on-line gambling, gambling in casinos abroad and illegal lotteries as the major targets of the strike.

Telephone hotlines and a website were set up to report gambling and officials caught gambling abroad would be fired.

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