China's autocrats abhor the free flow of information that is possible on the internet. They have already deployed thousands of "internet police" to monitor what gets posted. Now comes news from the Washington Post via MSNBC.com that China is harshly treating (electro-shock therapy for starters) what it calls internet addiction.
Alarmed by a survey that found that nearly 14 percent of teens in China are vulnerable to becoming addicted to the Internet, the Chinese government has launched a nationwide campaign to stamp out what the Communist Youth League calls "a grave social problem" that threatens the nation. [....]
The Chinese government in recent months has joined South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam in taking measures to try to limit the time teens spend online. It has passed regulations banning youths from Internet cafes and has implemented control programs that kick teens off networked games after five hours.
There's a global controversy over whether heavy Internet use should be defined as a mental disorder, with some psychologists, including a handful in the United States, arguing that it should be. Backers of the notion say the addiction can be crippling, leading people to neglect work, school and social lives.
Pardon me for scoffing, but I do not remember anyone ever defining me as a library addict in the days before the internet. This is nothing more than attempt to censor political opposition. The internet is no more addictive than any other pleasurable activity. This trivializes real addictions that are chemical in nature.
Hat tip: Alan Fraser