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China has banned 50 computer games - to create "a good environment" for Chinese children.

Games given the thumbs-down include The Sims 2, Manhunt, FIFA 2005, Painkiller: Battle out of Hell, Age of Mythology: The Titans, Battlefield Vietnam, Conflict Vietnam, Vietcong: Fist Alpha and Devastation, local news agency Xinhuanet reported today.

The clampdown centres on pirate copies of the games listed, a sign of the country's greater willingness to protect intellectual property, Beijing said. However, motivation for the ban also comes from China's anti-pornography operation and press-monitoring programme, so it's unlikely that legitimate copies of the games will be permitted, either.

The country is keen to stamp out any content that might have a "negative influence" on Chinese youth, as Xinhuanet puts it.

Beijing has called upon local administrators to monitor software sellers and come down hard on anyone distributing any of the listed titles. ®

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