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China Establishes Protection of Minors in Cyberspace

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In a concerted effort to cultivate a safer and more wholesome digital environment for its citizens, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has outlined its agenda for rectifying several pressing issues within the online space.

Encompass the proliferation of illegal and harmful content and the emergence of explicit material through new technologies and applications. Officials from the CAC disclosed these plans and underscored their commitment to fostering a clean and secure cyberspace.

One primary objective of these actions is to uphold and reinforce the recently issued Regulations on the Protection of Minors in Cyberspace. This legislation, greenlit during the 15th executive meeting of the State Council in September and officially published on October 16, is slated to take effect on January 1.

Wang Song, the Deputy Director of the CAC, emphasised the significance of these regulations as they address mounting concerns from various sectors of society regarding the safeguarding of minors in the online realm. This marks a pivotal moment in China’s legal framework for the protection of minors within the digital landscape.

The omnipresence of the internet in the lives of minors has led to a fundamental shift in their learning and daily experiences. While the online realm has enriched their lives and learning, it has also exposed them to a multitude of risks, including the dissemination of illegal and harmful information, privacy breaches, online addiction, and cyberbullying.

The objective of the regulations is to standardise online content, employing a variety of regulatory measures that encompass internet news information services, governance of online content ecosystems, user account information management, and information content algorithm recommendation management. These measures collectively establish the requisite institutional framework for curtailing the spread of illicit and detrimental online content.

Besides, the regulations cast a spotlight on providers of online educational products and services targeting minors. They are now required to tailor their offerings to align with the mental and cognitive capacities and developmental stages of the young users. This provision underscores the commitment to ensuring that online education is not only informative but also age-appropriate and conducive to the growth and development of minors.

Wang Song, Deputy Director of the CAC, articulated the agency’s intent to collaborate with various sectors of society to create a comprehensive framework for the protection of minors online. This approach emphasises the involvement of the government, educational institutions, families, and the broader society to collectively ensure the safety and well-being of minors in the digital sphere.

He also stressed that the CAC would intensify its online law enforcement efforts to combat all forms of illegal content, thus affirming the government’s unwavering commitment to fostering a secure and nurturing online environment for the youngest members of society.

Li Changxi, the head of the law-based cyberspace governance bureau within the CAC, pointed out the growing societal concerns surrounding minors becoming ensnared in online games, short videos, cyberbullying, and excessive online consumption.

To address these issues, the CAC and other relevant departments have introduced a range of management regulations and initiated a series of specific actions aimed at enhancing law enforcement efforts. These actions involve rectifying instances where minors have access to online game accounts in violation of regulations and curbing the malicious spread of rumours or slander targeting minors.

The CAC cited that the multifaceted approach to rectifying these challenges within the digital sphere represents a significant step towards securing a safer and more nurturing online environment for the future of China – its minors.

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