Chinese couple sells kids to play games

Another troubling tale hits headlines.

A Chinese couple sold their three children for cash to play video games, according to a local report.

Sanxiang City News newspaper (translated by ABC News, via VideoGamer.com) said the parents, both under 21, sold their children for money to fund playing online games at internet cafes.

In 2009, Li Lin and Li Juan sold their second child, a baby girl, for less than $500. They reportedly spent the money shortly after.

They then sold their first child, a boy, for about $4600. They sold their third child, also a boy, for the same amount.

They were reported to the police when the man's mother found out what they had done. "We don't want to raise them, we just want to sell them for some money," they said. They claim they didn't know they were breaking the law.

The games played by the couple were not disclosed, or the type of games they were.

China has a troubled history with online gaming.

A year ago China's Ministry of Culture issued new regulations banning children from using virtual currency to buy items in games.

The new rules also included restrictions on "unwholesome and corrupting content" and kids' gaming time.

The controls are made possible by a requirement that online game players register with their real names.

Minors will be banned from buying or selling items with virtual currencies, although the purchase of "products or services" will be allowed.

Game companies will be required to develop "techniques" limiting children's gaming time in order to prevent addiction, an issue which has been in the headlines in China since a series of deaths among "internet-addicted youths" in 2009. But the techniques, or the amount of gaming time, aren't specified.

The Ministry also requires companies to develop means to keep children from playing "inappropriate games", forbidding online games from including content that involves pornography, cults, superstition, gambling and violence.

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