Daily Drip

China Requires Livestreamers Be Politically Correct and “Wholesome”


A version of this article previously appeared on TechNode.

On June 22, China’s media regulators released a new regulation to tighten scrutiny on livestreaming hosts’ behavior.

The rules require livestreamers to adhere to a set of similar standards applied to the country’s tightly regulated traditional media hosts, a sign of growing oversight of the fast-growing and lucrative industry.

Jointly released by China’s National Radio and Television Administration and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the rule consists of 18 guidelines for livestreaming hosts.

The guidelines emphasize that livestreamers must uphold correct political values and social values, create and promote more “positive” stories, and maintain a “wholesome” taste. In addition, it advises hosts to self-regulate and avoid content that only focuses on generating online traffic, has morbid aesthetics, caters to fandom culture, or promotes money worship.

Meanwhile, livestreaming hosts in professional fields like law, medical health, education, and finance must obtain relevant qualifications and approvals from the streaming platform. WeChat told the Chinese media outlet The Paper late Wednesday that it will draft punishment measures for people who disobey these new rules.

In this regard, the rules also mention that livestreaming platforms should take responsibility for their implementation, giving positive encouragement to rule-followers and punishing those who break the rules. Users who severely violate the new regulations will be put on a blacklist and receive a permanent ban.

Furthermore, the rules apply to virtual hosts and the human vocalists who create the audio and dialogue for virtual hosts.


Livestreaming has become an integral part of China’s bustling ecommerce industry

Livestreaming ecommerce and entertainment have become part of Chinese people’s online shopping routine. Recently, education company New Oriental has been able to utilize livestreaming to make a significant comeback after China’s new rules on private tutoring cut off the bulk of its income.

Since early 2021, China has been pushing to further regulate the livestreaming industry. In late last year, authorities cracked down on several top livestreaming channels due to inappropriate or illegal behaviors.

One of the country’s top ecommerce streamers, Viya, was banned for tax evasion in 2021 and was fined 1.3 billion RMB (270 million USD). Before being banned, her platform generated 8.3 billion RMB in sales on the first day of the Singles’ Day shopping holiday in 2021.

In May, the country’s media regulators started to rein in minors’ access to livestreaming, such as barring them from buying gifts for livestreamers or hopping onto livestreaming themselves without parental consent.

All images via Depositphotos

Ward Zhou
Ward Zhou is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. He covers stories about industry of digital content, hardware, and anything geek. Reach him at ward.zhou[a]technode.com.

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