China orders web videos not to break religious rules

New regulations outlaw any violation of state's religious policy
China orders web videos not to break religious rules

The China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA) recently released a new set of regulations stating that all programs will be subject to a process of review before they are broadcast online. No violations of the state's religious policy will be permitted. ( photo)

The China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA) recently issued new regulations stating that all programs due to be posted online must be reviewed before they are authorized for broadcast, part of Beijing's sweeping censorship of religious content.

Any content found to be in violation of the state's religious policy is unlikely to be deemed fit for broadcast.

According to Xinhuanet, the CNSA released its Regulations on Administration of Online Short Video Platforms and the General Rules for Reviewing Netcasting Content on its official website in January.

They stipulate that all short videos, including their program title, summary, bullet screen, comments, and other content should be reviewed beforehand.

Moreover, the relevant platforms should implement a real-name verification management system for entities registering accounts that upload programs.

The regulations also note that the platforms should archive any accounts that have violated the laws or regulations.

If any user generated content (UGC) programs break the rules three or more times in a week, their information must be added to the archive, including the users' identities, profile photos and the account names.

The report noted that, according to the seriousness of the violation, uploading bans would be issued for one year, three years, or permanently.

Regarding the content of short videos, the regulations state that the platforms should bear full responsibility for copyright protection.

No one is allowed to edit or modify online movies, drama series, or other types of broadcast video and audio clips unless they have received the proper authorization.

Verification of copyright must be provided in all cases and no such material can be disseminated without the explicit approval of the state.

The platforms should adopt new technological measures, such as user portrait, face, and fingerprint recognition, to ensure the implementation of real-name systems, the rules state.

Mechanisms must also be established to protect minors by having the platforms adopt measures to limit the time minors can spend online.

Another rule mandates that parental supervisory mechanisms be put in place to safeguard minors and restrict their access to short videos to curb compulsive viewing habits.

At the same time, the CNSA released its general rules for reviewing netcasting content, which listed 21 major items and 100 articles, mainly targeting short video programs broadcast online.

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The program's title, name, comments, bullet screen, memes, language, show, subtitles and background must not attempt to attack or divide the nation, or its political or legal system.

They must not harm the nation's image, disclose state secrets, undermine social stability, damage the image of military figures, civil servants or the police, go against social morality and norms, or violate other state laws.

In addition, short videos are banned from depicting any activities which the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), which has recently been targeting members with religious beliefs, sees as relating to religious extremism, so-called cult organizations, and their primary members, as well as their respective "doctrines" and ideology.

Another rule suggests the censors would step in with a heavy hand if any content due to be published online "inappropriately" compares the merits and demerits of different religious denominations, especially if this could provoke disputes and conflict.

Other red flags that will likely see a clip not approved include excessively displaying and promoting religious doctrines, rules and rites; muddling religious extremism and the lawful practices of religion together; making fun of or ridiculing religious content; and delivering malicious speech that is considered harmful to ethnic and religious sentiment.

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