After Baidu, Beijing has set its sights on a new target: online games.
The Ministry of Culture has reportedly warned 26 online game operators to resolve their violations, which include running banned games and failing to use real-name registrations, among other things, according to state news agency Xinhua.
Of these group, 16 groups are being investigated over online games that involve pornography, gambling and content “against social ethics.”
The operators are also being accused of failing to inform the public before suspending a game as well as failing to put in place measures that will prevent minors from “becoming addicted to their games.”
According to the state news outlet, “online game operators must prevent minors from playing too long, by measures such as reducing or even invalidating their in-game gains after a certain number of hours.”
A statement from the ministry obtained by the news agency said: “Businesses must learn their lessons, fulfil their responsibilities, improve their own self-censorship and operate their businesses in line with the law.”
Beijing authorities recently launched a fresh round of purge on illicit online activity, which resulted in the public embarrassment of search engine giant Baidu.
China’s leading search engine has been operating under the watchful eye of Beijing authorities following the gambling promotion scandal that erupted back in July, when a media outlet ran a report detailing how online betting operators hijacked corporate ad links on the search engine site, sending users who clicked on the links to unauthorized gambling sites rather than the companies the ads claimed to be promoting.
At the time, Beijing officials gave the company a slap in the wrist and a list of “to-do” things, including possibly filing criminal charges against the staff whom they think was responsible for the advertising boo-boo. The company was also required to be more responsive to public complaints, and to give timely feedback.