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Special Action on the Online Environment for Minors

Participating Agencies:
• The Ministry of Education (MOE)
• National Press and Publication Administration (PPA)
• Central Cyberspace Administration (CCA)
• Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)
• Ministry of Public Security (MPS)
• State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR)

A cross-departmental action to clean up the internet for minors in China has entered its main enforcement phase. The special action, which is meant to target unhealthy online content and conduct, builds on a developing holistic approach to regulating China’s internet ecosystem as well as special guidelines on preventing internet addictions and protecting minors’ personal information that were released at the end of last year. The wellbeing of children online remains a hot topic in China, and will be the subject of an entire chapter of upcoming revisions to China’s premier child welfare law, the Law on the Protection of Minors (currently in second draft). It’s likely that this topic will receive even more attention in the coming months as the epidemic forces more of minors’ lives online.

Work on the special action includes five main project areas, grouped by different goals:

  1. Stopping Internet Addiction: Primarily emphasizes platforms’ compliance with rules to identify minor users such as using real-name registration systems and encourages the use of ‘child modes’ to impose time restrictions, content review, and different algorithmic content pushing for minors. Also encourages the use of ‘net nanny’ style software, and encourages education on the issue and heightened attention by schools and parents. (PPA, CCA, MOE, MIIT, MPS)
  2. Stopping minor’s negative behavior online: Targets ‘unhealthy’ internet subcultures to have accounts and chat groups closed down, and calls for investigation of bullying, extortion, privacy violations, etc. aimed at minors. (MPS leads with CCA, MIIT, SAMR cooperating)
  3. Stopping vulgar and harmful informationAims to ensure that online areas dedicated for children are free of legal, but improper distractions such as ads, games, and livestreams. Also seeks to exclude content that is considered inappropriate for minors such as the glorification of sex, money, or superstition and encouragement of suicide from children’s content. (CCA leads with MIIT, MPS, and SAMR cooperating)
  4. Strengthen regulation of businesses- Doesn’t provide any new rules, but calls for more proactive enforcement of existing rules through inspections and content review, and announcing corrective actions to guide and deter others. (CCA leads with MIIT and MPS cooperating)
  5. Guidance and publicity- Creating an online literacy curriculum in schools to teach children pravy and security, internet use, and information screening. Include online protection in ‘family education to teach families responsible use. (MOE leads with PPA, CCA, MIT, MPS cooperating)

This work is to be carried out in three distinct phases:

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