Efforts stepped up to remove harmful content

Updated: Jul 11, 2024 China Daily Print
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While more people are benefiting from livestreaming, authorities have also taken action to oversee the industry's development by issuing regulations and increasing inspections.

The country had 816 million livestreaming users by the end of last year, accounting for 74.7 percent of total netizens, and up 65.01 million on 2022, according to China Internet Network Information Center data released in March.

Most of them shop through livestreaming, followed by those who watch games, concerts, sports events or reality shows via online services, according to a report issued by the center.

The report said that Chinese authorities stepped up efforts to strengthen supervision of livestreaming platforms last year by removing harmful information and encouraging high-quality content.

For example, some hosts livestream from fields, farms or processing facilities in their hometowns, and engage in real-time conversations with viewers about rural life and village stories. These types of activities were supported by cyberspace administrations because they contributed to rural revitalization, the report said.

"Selling agricultural goods via the flourishing livestreaming platforms has brought more development opportunities for villages and played a significant role in increasing farmers' income," Yue Qiaoyun, a deputy to the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, said in March.

Yue went back to her hometown in Beijing's Pinggu district after graduating from college to sell peaches online, including through livestreaming promotions.

She said she had a sense of fulfillment helping her neighbors make more money. However, she pointed out that the increasing prevalence of counterfeit goods and misrepresentation of trademarks and geographical indications in livestreams posed a threat to consumers' rights and the livestreaming industry, adding it was imperative to eradicate such deceptions.

Lan Pingyong, an NPC deputy from Fuzhou, Fujian province, who follows the development of the livestream industry, said more measures were needed to fight the selling of fake and low-quality goods on social media platforms.

Businesses selling food in livestreaming rooms should be under stricter supervision, "because food safety is crucial to everyone's health", he said.

Both NPC deputies suggested that judicial authorities focus more on problems in the emerging business, provide stronger legal education for the market entities and help boost consumers' awareness of self-protection.

In recent years, China has attached greater importance to the livestreaming industry, with closer inspection of platforms.

To better protect juveniles, for instance, the Cyberspace Administration of China has prohibited children under 16 from acting as hosts and forbidden underage users being enticed to reward hosts.

A draft judicial interpretation formulated by the Supreme People's Court, the country's top court, also stipulates that if guardians discover a child under the age of 8 has tipped a livestreamer they can ask judges to order the return of the money. The courts should support such refunds, the interpretation said.

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