'Obama' surfs Internet from China cafe

BEIJING (AFP) - President Barack Obama appears to be a regular customer of a Chinese Internet cafe, reports said, after the manager forged an identity card in the US leader's name to help surfers avoid China's web rules.

The card has a full-face picture of Mr Obama, lists his correct birthday and gives his address as "White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC", while stating his ethnicity as "Kenyan", pictures showed.

As part of their efforts to control the web, China's Communist rulers require Internet cafes to register users' identity numbers before letting them go online.

The manager of the shop in Jinan, the capital of the eastern province of Shandong, created the card by printing out Mr Obama's personal details and sticking them on to the front of a genuine ID lost by its holder in 2010.

Doing so allowed him to give customers without documentation - such as teenagers - easy access to the Internet, the official sdnews.com.cn website reported late Tuesday.

Police were "spooked" when they saw the card during a routine inspection last week, it added, and the manager, identified only by his surname Guo, was given an unspecified "punishment".

According to Chinese law, using a fake identity card can be punished with a fine of up to 1,000 yuan (S$204) or 10 days in police detention.

The card was returned to the legitimate holder, the report said - a man named Wang, who lives in Jinan rather than the US.

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