Opinions on further regulating the profit-seeking behavior in online livestreaming and promoting the healthy development of the industry

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In recent years, online livestreaming has played an important role in areas such as promoting flexible employment and serving economic development. At the same time, profit-seeking behavior in online livestreaming has had problems such as online livestreaming platforms' insufficient management responsibility, irregular commercial marketing behavior, and tax evasion, which have restrained the healthy development of the industry and damaged social fairness and justice. The following opinions are hereby put forward in order to further regulate profit-seeking behavior in online livestreaming and to promote the healthy development of the industry.

I. General Requirements

With Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era as guidance, and based on laws, regulations, and documents such as the "PRC Cybersecurity Law", "PRC E-commerce Law". PRC Law on Tax Collection and Management", "PRC Law Against Unfair Competition", "PRC Measures on the Management of Online Live-Stream Marketing (Provisional)", and the Guiding Opinions on Further Strengthening Regulation and Management Efforts for Online Live-streaming", to strengthen information sharing, deepen joint regulatory action, strive to build long-term and effective inter-departmental coordinated regulation mechanisms, strengthening regulatory guidance on profit-seeking behavior in online livestreaming, encouraging and supporting online livestreaming to operate in accordance with laws and regulations, truly promoting regulation in the development of the online livestreaming industry, and development in the course of regulation.

II. Online Livestreaming Platforms are to Better Implement Primary Management Responsibility

(1) Strengthen the Management of Online Livestreaming Account Registration. In strict accordance with relevant laws and regulations, and the principle of "real names behind the scenes, but whatever you wish up front", online livestreaming platforms are to conduct authentication and registration of online livestream publishers that is based on information such as identification document information and uniform social credit codes, and carry out dynamic inspections and checks to ensure that authentication information is truthful and credible. Twice each year, online livestreaming platforms shall report information on livestream publishers to provincial internet information departments and departments for taxation, such as their identities, livestream accounts, online aliases, accounts for receipt of payments, and type of income, as well their profit situation.

(2) Strengthen the Management of Online Live-streaming Accounts by Grade and Type. In strict accordance with the requirements of relevant laws and regulations, online livestreaming platforms shall establish and strictly implement systems for the management of online livestreaming accounts by grade and type; employing measures such as warnings and alerts, orders to make corrections within a certain time, limiting account functions, suspending the use of accounts, permanently closing accounts, and prohibiting new registration, to address online livestreaming accounts that violate laws and regulations, and shall store related records and promptly report to relevant departments as requested.

(3) Cooperate with Law Enforcement Activities.In service agreements, online livestreaming platforms shall clearly indicate the rights and obligations of online livestream publishers in areas such as registration as a market entity and payment of taxes, but must not make the online livestream publishers' establishment of a studio or sole proprietorship a mandatory requirement. Online livestreaming platforms shall cooperate with oversight inspections that are lawfully implemented by departments such as for internet information, market regulation, and taxation, providing necessary documents, materials, data, and so forth, and providing technical support and assistance to investigation and inspection activities in accordance with law.

III. Regulate Marketing Conduct in Online Livestreaming, and Preserve Market Order

(1) Actively Create an Environment of Fair Competition for Online Livestreaming. Online livestreaming platforms and publishers must not conduct false or misleading commercial promotion for entities producing or selling goods, as well as on the nature, functions, quality, or sources of vaccines, awards they have received, qualifications, sales, business statistics, and user ratings, to trick or mislead consumers or the relevant public, and must not assist other businesses in carrying out the conduct described above. Where online livestreaming platforms and publishers who are selling goods or providing services employ methods such as price comparisons to carry out marketing activities, they should display the sale price and the compared price and the implication as text. Online livestreaming platforms and publishers must not use service agreements or transaction rules as well as technical methods, to impose unreasonable restrictions or unreasonable requirements on transactions with other operators in the livestream room or on transaction prices, or obtain unreasonable fees from merchants.

(2) Protect the lawful rights and interests of businesses and consumers.Online livestreaming publishers, service establishments, and platforms shall fully, truthfully, and accurately disclose information on goods and services, safeguarding consumers' rights to know and selection, and give necessary and clear alerts for important consumer information that is directly related to the safety of consumers' lives. Businesses and consumers shall be actively assisted in preserving their lawful rights and interests, establishing convenient and effective mechanisms for complaints and reports and for online dispute resolution, providing necessary information, data, and other supports for businesses and consumers' protection of their rights. Strengthen regulation of the quality and safety of products sold in online livestreaming, with online livestreaming publishers and service establishments strictly prohibiting the use of online livestreaming platforms to sell fake or shoddy goods; they must not promote or draw traffic to livestream clients or other third parties that they know or should know have broken laws or regulations or have other high-risk behavior; and methods such as false rumors, false marketing promotions, and giving oneself good ratings must not be used to draw traffic or create hype, inducing consumers to give good ratings or buy products.

IV. Regulate Tax Management and Promote Tax Compliance

(1) Fulfill Withholding and Payment Obligations in Accordance with Law.Online livestreaming platforms and service establishments shall clearly distinguish and delineate the different sources and characters of online livestream publishers' income, and perform obligations to withhold and pay personal income taxes in accordance with law; they must not transfer or evade the obligations to withhold and pay personal income taxes through methods such as creating livestream publisher 'associations', calling on the help of 3rd party enterprises, or having publishers sign non-liability agreements on the withholding and payment of personal income taxes; and must not plan or assist online livestream publishers in evading taxes.

(2) Regulate Tax Services and Collection. All levels of the taxation department should optimize publicity and guidance on taxation, promoting compliance with tax laws by online livestreaming platforms, service establishments, and publishers, and guiding online livestream publishers to pay taxes regularly, and enjoy preferential taxation in accordance with law; enterprises and personal studios that are opened by online livestream publishers should setup ledgers in accordance with relevant state provisions, and in principle, income taxes are to be levied by auditing accounts; truly regulate tax management of online livestream platforms and related third-party enterprises entrusting collection or invoicing; and further strengthen big data analysis on tax collection, and establish mechanisms for normalizing regulation.

(3) Combat Illegal and Criminal Conduct Related to Taxes. Investigate and address tax evasion and other illegal and criminal conduct related to taxation in accordance with law, and publicly expose example cases where the circumstances are serious, the circumstances are vile, or there is strong public outcry. In accordance with law, sternly address and publicly expose intermediary organizations and related persons who plan online livestream publishers' violations of laws and regulations or assist in tax evasion.

V. Deepen collaborative governance and promote the enhancement of regulatory synergy

(1) Strengthen Information Sharing. The departments for internet information, taxation, and market regulation are to establish and improve departmental information-sharing mechanisms, sharing information on livestream profit-making such as online livestream publishers' authentication and registration, clear channels for information sharing, continuously increase the level of information sharing, and coordinate and promote departmental information sharing by other departments in accordance with law.

(2) Strengthen Joint Incentives and Punishments. Protect online livestreaming platforms', service establishments', and publishers' lawful rights and interests in lawfully carrying out production and business activities; all relevant departments are to give encouragement and support to those who operate in accordance with law, actively take on social responsibility, and are creditworthy in the payment of taxes. Online livestream publishers who violate laws and regulations for profit, as well as online livestreaming platforms that violate laws and regulations or enable and assist online livestream publishers in carrying out profit-seeking conduct in violation of laws or regulations, shall be punished in accordance with law; and where a crime is constituted, criminal responsibility shall be pursued in accordance with law. Relevant departments are to lawfully include online livestream publishers who violate laws or regulations and cause a vile impact in lists of seriously untrustworthy entities.

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