China's Ministry of Culture has prohibited websites from running, publishing or offering links to online games featuring mafia-like gangs, and threatened "severe punishment" for those who violate the ban.
Such games violated regulations on Internet administration, because they "advocate obscenity, gambling, or violence," and "undermine morality and Chinese traditional culture," said a circular posted on the ministry's website on Monday.
Some popular online games with the themes of "mafia" or "godfather" were running on some websites, where players took the roles of killers and gangsters, according to the circular.
"These games encourage people to deceive, loot and kill, and glorify gangster life. They are a bad influence on youngsters," it read.