The Chinese government has announced its latest futile attempt to hold back the tidal wave of free digital information that is bound to flood the country sooner or later, placing a ban on the licensing of new internet cafes for 2007 while officials investigate supposed breaches of their restrictive rules. Specifically, the thought police want to find out how widespread the illegal renting of licenses and failure to register customers really are, as part of a larger crackdown on internet culture that began in April at the behest of President Hu Jintao. Let's just hope this moratorium is lifted before next summer, because with the lack of 3G availability by the time the Summer Games hit, it would seem that already-crowded cafes may get pushed to the breaking point as tourists fight one another in a rush to check their MySpaces and get their photos on Flickr.

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China puts moratorium on new internet cafes