China's cyberspace regulator solicits public opinion on new rules to protect minors
Published: Mar 15, 2022 02:14 AM
Photo: IC

File Photo: IC

Chinese online products and service providers should set up channels to aid minors  preserve evidence of cyberbullying and give victims the right to notify those providers to take necessary measures, including closing accounts, according to draft regulations issued on Monday by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

According to the draft proposal, after receiving a notification, the network product and service provider shall promptly take necessary measures to stop activities involving cyberbullying of minors and prevent the information from spreading.  

In recent years, with the popularization of the internet, more and more children have access to the web. The number of underage internet users in China reached 183 million in 2020 and the internet penetration rate on underaged users reached 94.9 percent, significantly higher than the 70.4 percent for the national population in the same period, according to the official data.  

It also brought some problems such as children's safety awareness, mental health, abuse of minors' personal information and internet addiction.

The regulation will also ban online communities and groups on games, video platforms, social media and other internet service providers that ask minors to raise money for celebrities and purchase online, or induce minors to engage in these activities. It aims to prevent and contain profit-seeking values, which have been driving the chaos of "fan circles" among minors in China in recent years.

Fans' fundraising platforms have been poorly managed in China. In October 2021, Owhat, one of the most popular platforms for Chinese fans to support their "idols" by raising funds and getting information on the entertainment industry, suspended all trading services, with more than 30 fan clubs launching a protest as they face potential loss of tens of millions of yuan. 

The regulation will also require internet service providers to limit the shopping amount for minors and accumulated purchases in a single day in using of network products and services. 

The draft revision of 67 items includes strengthening the cultivation of minors' internet literacy, network information regulation, personal information protection and prevention of internet addiction of minors.

The draft revision is open to public consultation until April 13, according to the cyberspace regulator.