China has increased its efforts to regulate livestreaming platforms in a move to prevent the internet environment from being polluted by unhealthy or illegal information, the nation’s anti-pornography office said on July 17.
The National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications, a joint team including China’s Cyberspace Administration and the Ministry of Culture, called for strengthening the fight against violators on platforms providing live broadcasts.
From January to June, 73 livestreaming platforms and 91,443 live studios with illegal content were closed, while 1,879 live hosts were permanently blacklisted, according to the cyberspace administration.
The office also cooperated with public security authorities to crack cases in which livestreaming providers or live anchors were suspected of spreading pornographic information.
In a recent case, police in Zhejiang province broke up a gang led by two suspects surnamed Fang and Qi, who set up a platform in February and operated it overseas using female hosts.
By May, more than 1.08 million people had become members and paid more than 7.28 million yuan ($1.1 million) to watch livestreamed programs. There were more than 1,000 hosts.
So far, police have detained 22 suspects, the office said, adding that three people are still on the run.
Wang Sixin, a law professor at Communication University of China, applauded the action and the office’s increasing efforts to regulate livestreaming platforms, “as they are enforcing our laws and rules”.
In December, the cyberspace administration issued a regulation on how to manage live platforms. It said anyone using the platforms to harm national security, damage social stability or spread pornography must be banned.
“The rules to regulate the platforms are sufficient. What we need to do is implement them effectively,” Wang said. “Fighting problematic livestreaming platforms doesn’t mean restricting the industry’s development. It’s not a conflict.”