China launches campaign to rein in chaotic behavior in cyberspace during Spring Festival
Published: Jan 25, 2022 01:27 PM
Illustration: VCG

Illustration: VCG

China's cyberspace regulator on Tuesday launched a campaign to rein in chaotic behavior in cyberspace as the Spring Festival approaches, with a focus on cyberbullying and rumormongering as well as a rebound of chaotic "fan circle" activities on the internet.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said the one-month campaign will rectify accounts that spread illegal information and chaotic scenes online to ensure people enjoy a healthy and festive holidays.

One of the focuses of the campaign is to rein in behavior such as insulting or doxing others under the guise of the epidemic and trendy social topics, while another is online rumormongering and swindling. The campaign will also make sure the chaotic scenes of "fan circles" will not rebound and that celebrities engaged in illegal behavior will not re-emerge.

Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that reining in chaotic behavior in cyberspace during the Spring Festival is part of China's effective cyberspace governance, which always aims at better serving the needs of the people and their pursuit of good and happy lives. 

Progress in dealing with chaos in cyberspace has been made in the past few years but new problems emerge all the time, which makes the "Clear and Bright" campaign an ongoing thing. During the Spring Festival, online fraud cases might mount under the guise of sending "red envelopes" during the holidays, Shen said.   

The CAC launched a two-month "Clear and Bright" campaign in May 2021 to crack down on illegal online behavior, including chaotic phenomena relating to the entertainment sector and the irrational behavior of "fan circles". 

The "fan circle" refers to online groups where millions of passionate fans gather to support their idols. Some fandoms show this support by posting photos of their favored stars, but some have gone so far as to form small online armies that try to control comments on social media platforms.

The campaign also aims to crack down on displays of wealth and the worship of money and feudal superstition, to rectify mukbang, a livestreaming show where a host consumes large portions of food while interacting with the audience, and to crack down on pornography to protect the legitimate rights and interests of minors.