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Online Live-Streaming under Increased Scrutiny

The Cyberspace Administration of China issued new rules on regulating online live-streaming services on 4 November. Under these new rules, online live-streaming service providers must obtain news information service credentials and ensure that their live streaming of news and other live contents are censored before release.

The new rules prohibit the use of live-streaming to jeopardise national security, undermine social stability, disrupt social order, infringe upon others’ lawful rights and interests, disseminate pornographic or obscene materials and other activities prohibited by laws and regulations. Online live-streaming service may not be used to produce, reproduce, publish or disseminate any information that is prohibited by laws and regulations.

According to an official of the Cyberspace Administration of China, online live-streaming is developing rapidly as a new channel for content dissemination, but some live-streaming platforms are found to be disseminating content involving pornography, violence, rumour and fraud in breach of core socialist values, adversely affecting young people’s mental well-being. Some platforms that lack the necessary credentials are carrying out news information live-streaming against regulations. Such acts of disrupting the normal order of dissemination must be regulated.

Online live-streaming service providers and live-streaming publishers shall obtain online news information service credentials in accordance with law when providing internet news information service, and shall provide services within the scope of their licence. Online live-streaming service providers shall manage the live-streaming of news and other live contents in such a way that all contents are censored before released. Where online news information live-streaming services are provided, a chief editor shall be assigned.

Online live-streaming service providers shall actively carry out their responsibility as core players, establish and improve various management systems, maintain a level of specialist staff commensurate with the size of business, and possess the technical capability to block live streams. Management shall be divided into levels and categories. A stratified credit management system and system of blacklisting shall be established for online live-streaming publishers.

The new rules will take effect on 1 December 2016.

The full text of the new rules in Chinese is available at:


Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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