China orders web operators to spring clean its entire internet

Purveyors of rumours, flirty teens, dodgy infomercials, or bloody violence all told to get in the bin – yet again


The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has shared its spring-cleaning plans with the world – and suggested it's time to make the Middle Kingdom's web sites sparkle with wholesome content.

The Admin's edict lists many net nasties that it wants removed. But there's not much new on the list – most of the items have already been the subject of warnings or bans.

At the top of the list is violent content, which China has never wanted online.

Fake news and rumours are next, again neither a newcomer to lists of things Chinese netizens have been told not to do.

Indeed, just last week Chinese media reported on a document containing investment rules for local internet companies. The CAC denied the document existed and warned that whoever distributed it would be held to account.

The new list also targets toxic online fandom, and encourages parents to have their kids spend less time online and to follow restrictions on the amount of time spent gaming.

Teen idols have been told to clean up their online acts, and not to think about replacing video with digital avatars.

Vulgarity in all forms will also be bagged up and tossed out. Broadcasters of online infomercials have been told to stop promoting over-consumption. Folks who post short videos have been told to keep it clean.

Website operators have also been instructed to quash pop-ups, make sure their home pages are in good order, and present a positive vibe.

The edict is literally a spring-cleaning exercise. Chinese New Year is next week, and it's followed by a Spring Festival that runs for fifteen days.

The CAC wants China's internet to sparkle with positivity during that period, which happens to overlap with Beijing hosting the Winter Olympic Games.

Why the CAC needs to reiterate for China's netizens the things it considers out of bounds online was not explained, but China has often found it needs to send the same message several times. We've reported at least five times that Beijing has banned cryptocurrencies. ®

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