China Adds Online Gaming To National Security Risk List

13 March 2007

THE REGISTER
By Burke Hansen in San Francisco → More by this author
Monday 12th March 2007

House of Cards-Although the Chinese government recently announced a purifying moratorium on internet cafes – the same week the Communist Youth League penned a contract with leading gaming developer Playtech to provide software for large scale internet-based gambling tournaments – the cadres in Beijing know that internet cafes are only an embodiment of something much larger and more threatening, according to the Financial Times.

The government took its assault on the internet gaming world a step further this week with an announcement that it perceives the explosion in virtual currencies used in a variety of online gaming forums – everything from Second Life to World of Warfare to virtual poker rooms – as a serious threat to its national security.

“The People’s Bank of China will strengthen management of the virtual currencies used in online games and will stay on the lookout for any assault by such virtual currencies on the real economic and financial order,” the government statement read.

Such currencies have been used in the United States to circumvent the tentacles of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which prohibit American financial institutions from processing transactions for internet gambling companies. The Chinese are particularly concerned with the wildly popular “QQ Coins”, issued by Hong Kong messaging and game provider Tencent, which are used by two thirds of Chinese internet users and which can now be traded or accepted as currency by third party companies.

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