Stringent rules imposed on Chinese live streaming platforms

The fast sprawl of live streaming platforms in China has raised the attention of regulators for their sometimes vulgar and violent content.

China's Ministry of Culture on Tuesday ordered all operators of live streaming platforms in China to apply for a permit from relevant authorities, which shall clearly state that its business scope includes "online performance".

The new requirement came after the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), and State Internet Information Office (SIIO) -- the other two Chinese regulatory departments -- in September and November mandated Chinese online performance sites to acquire relevant prior approval from them first, according to a Sina news report on Wednesday.

It means live streaming platforms in China, which normally hire individual performers to interact with their thousands of users, are now under strict supervision from at least three major Chinese regulatory departments.

Operators that are incapable of censoring their own content are not allowed to provide live streaming, according to the Chinese regulators. Apart from close monitoring of these service providers, performers on the live streaming platforms are also mandated to register their real names and identity documents.

According to the Sina report, the number of live streaming operators has mushroomed in China. In January 2016, there were only 80 online performance sites in China, but the number rose to about 500 in May and now stands at around 1,000.

The amount of poor quality content available has in turn increased, with a number of performers providing erotic and violent subject matter to attract audiences and make profits.

One major live streaming platform "Inke" said its content review team owns over 1,200 staff to monitor live streaming content and their performers' identities 24/7 to make sure performance is compliant, according to another Chinese report.

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