China’s Communist Party affiliate seeks ban on child news anchors

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Published: March 11, 2019 10:23:55 AM

An affiliate of China's ruling Communist Party has called for a ban on child news anchors on live streaming platforms following allegations that minors are being used to spread vulgar and pornographic content.

China’s Communist Party affiliate seeks ban on child news anchors (Representative image)

An affiliate of China’s ruling Communist Party has called for a ban on child news anchors on live streaming platforms following allegations that minors are being used to spread vulgar and pornographic content.

A regulation banning minors from acting as news anchors on live streaming platforms and protection on their use of the internet need to be issued, according to a proposal submitted by the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF) to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a national advisory body which is currently holding its annual session here.

The ACYF, which represents many youth groups in the Communist Party of China (CPC), including the influential Communist Youth League of China, said its proposal was aimed at protecting minors from illegal content, the official media here reported.

The draft of the regulation is needed since some live streaming platforms provide vulgar and pornographic information, which affects the values of minors, violates their privacy and causes financial losses due to “irrational” rewards to the network anchors, The Beijing News quoted members of the National Committee of ACYF as saying.

Commenting on the proposal Wang Sixin, a media law professor at the Communication University of China in Beijing, said “the ability for minors to control their language is weak.”

Under this circumstance, when they do not know how to deal with provocative language, it will be harmful to their physical and mental health, Wang was quoted as saying by the state-run Global Times on Monday.

“Minors are at a critical stage in the development of moral habits and their capacity of discern is weak. They might mistakenly believe that the vulgar acts they watch through live streams can be attractive, profitable and even emulated, which causes a negative impact on their values,” delegates from the ACYF were quoted by China National Radio (CNR) as saying.

The number of online users in China reached 425 million as of June 2018, an increase of 2.94 million compared with 2017, and the user utilisation rate was 53.0 per cent.

The percentage of students in elementary, junior and senior high schools who regularly watch live broadcasts reached 6.4 per cent, 18.3 per cent and 20.5 per cent respectively, another survey quoted by CNR stated.

The ACYF has proposed that the regulation needs to clarify the criteria for an anchor and strengthen the investigation and punishment of live streaming platforms for illegal content inspection and supervision.

Facial recognition and big data could be used to identify registered users and a “parental control mode” can be applied to monitor and prevent minors from getting away from parental supervision, the Global Times report said.

Some young live streaming users would use their parents’ bank cards to reward the anchors, but is difficult to get a refund, the report said.

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