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China Imposes New Restrictions on Live-Stream e-Commerce

Recently, China’s State Administration of Radio and Television and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism jointly issued a “Code of Conduct for Live-Stream Online Hosts.”

The purpose of the 18-article regulation was to curb the spread of perceived opposition to the CCP in online e-commerce, such as was shown by Li Jiaqi, a top e-commerce live streamer, two weeks before the regulation. In the evening on June 3, Li and his co-host were presented on TV before the audience with a plate of the British brand Wall’s layered ice cream. The ice cream was garnished with a chocolate ball and a chocolate stick on top. The show ended abruptly. The CCP authorities believed that it resembled the shape of a tank.

On the evening of June 4, 1989, the CCP leaders sent military tanks and heavily armed troops to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and cracked down on student protesters who were demanding democracy and greater freedom. According to a recently declassified secret cable written on June 5, 1989, by Sir Alan Donald, the then-British ambassador to China, the death toll was 10,000. The CCP had announced a death roll of 241. The “Tank Man” picture showing a young man standing in front of Chinese military tanks trying to stop the tanks at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989  has become the worldwide monumental symbol of the June 4 massacre. As a result of the vigilant efforts of the CCP to censor any references to the killings, most young Chinese, especially those born after the massacre, have little knowledge of the killings.

The 18-article regulation prohibits 31 behaviors in the live stream audio-visual programs.

Online live streamers must be politically correct. They must have a correct perspective of the world, life, and values. They must be “actively practicing the Core Socialist Values.”

Of the prohibitions, Article 14 Section 3 prohibits “publishing content that weakens, distorts or denies the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the socialist system, or economic reform and opening up.”

Under Article 17, online accounts shall be closed for those with serious issues or repeated problems who do not change their ways. “Their names shall be entered onto a ‘blacklist’ or ‘warning list’ and shall not be permitted to resume broadcasts through methods such as changing account names or platforms.”

Source: China National Radio and Television Administration, June 22, 2022                                                                                                                                                          

China Ministry of Culture and Tourism, June 22, 2022