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China’s Approach to Cyberspace Governance

As the digital age has brought extensive and profound impacts on human society, China aims to be responsible in its approach to promote governance in cyberspace. China has also jointly issued a guideline on developing a more civilised and well-regulated cyberspace environment.

Digital technology can empower cyberspace governance. Examples of technological applications to provide better public service and reduce regional gaps such as Internet-based health services and the 5G-assisted smart farm.

China’s leading role in digitalisation has been widely recognised by the international community. Meanwhile, China has been actively sharing its digital dividends with the rest of the world. The country has offered digital aid in the forms of technology, equipment and services to less developed countries. In addition, China has been deeply involved in multilateral activities of global cyberspace governance through platforms.

Moreover, China established the International Research Centre of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Beijing, which will use big data to facilitate the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

China will continue to make contributions to global cyberspace governance. Actively participating in the formulation of international rules and technical standards on data security, digital currency and data tax has been written in the 14th Five-Year Plan, the country’s development blueprint. Internet development has no boundaries. China is set to work with the international community to enhance digital government efficiency.

Furthermore, China has released a proposal on safeguarding cyberspace from disinformation, together with other relevant entities and platforms. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s cyberspace has witnessed the circulation of various forms of disinformation, which have misled public opinion and infringed on the netizens’ legitimate rights.

The general consensus reveals that efforts should be made to address the issue of internet disinformation and create a purified ecosystem in cyberspace. Every subject involved in internet activities should abide by relevant laws, regulations and public moral codes and resolutely oppose the production and transmission of cyberspace disinformation, said the proposal. It also outlined efforts to enhance the primary responsibility for internet platforms and raise public awareness of the rule of law and science to better harness the internet.

Chinese authorities have also issued a circular announcing the launch of a special campaign to enhance the cyberspace environment for minors. The campaign, jointly initiated by six departments, including the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the National Press and Publication Administration, will concentrate efforts on solving problems related to internet addiction among minors.

The document said that China will take tough action against bad online social interactions and undesirable phenomena involving minors, including cyberbullying and cyber violence, as well as law violations like racketeering. Online games, vulgar fiction, entertainment live streams and other information that are irrelevant to studies provided by educational websites will also be dealt with.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Chinese regulators have set up an online platform that allows the public to report on gaming companies they believe are violating restrictions on online game times for children. China introduced new rules that limit the amount of time children can spend on video games to three hours a week.

China limits under-18s to playing for one hour a day – 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. – on only Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. They can also play for an hour, at the same time, on public holidays. An earlier limit allowed 90 minutes on most days.

China’s National Press and Publication Administration set up a platform that enables holders of Chinese ID cards to report violations and furnish proof. The online platform was officially named “reporting platform for gaming companies implementation of anti-addiction regulations” and is currently in trial operations. This new rule aims to combat gaming addiction amongst children.

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