China / Society

Errant portals will face warning

By Su Zhou (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-29 07:36

China has tightened regulations for Internet service providers by releasing a rule that allows representatives of Internet portals to be summoned for talks if their websites violate regulations.

The rule specifies nine problem areas, including seeking inappropriate profit by abusing the power of releasing or deleting news.

The Cyberspace Administration of China said that it and local cyber administrations would arrange meetings with representatives of the portals should problems be detected, and they have the power to issue warnings.

Internet companies cannot decline these invitations and the cyber space administrations cannot abuse their authority. The rule will take effect June 1.

"There is a high possibility that those websites spreading rumors and pornography, leaking user information and permitting users to set up illegal account names, will be invited for a chat," said Fan Li, an official in charge of online information service with the administration, during a news briefing Tuesday.

At least two law enforcement officers must attend the meetings and record the process.

Fan said the system will strengthen guidance and correction for errors, rather than simply punish.

"If problems are not rectified after they have been summoned several times, Internet portals will be given heavier punishment," Fan said.

According to the administration's Internet information reporting center, in March alone, the center received 25,712 complaints from the public.

More than 63 percent were for pornography, 8.3 percent reported fraud, 8 percent was for gambling and 20.4 percent was related to rumors and other harmful information.

In February and April, the administration summoned leaders from two major portals, Netease and Sina, to urge them to correct their violations.

Chen Xinxin, researcher at Institute of Law of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said this system will help to reduce misunderstanding between the Internet regulator and Internet companies.

"Through the 'chat', Internet service providers can get to know why certain law or regulations were drafted and the motives behind them," said Chen.

"At the same time, Internet companies can also share their difficulties in practice to officials as well as suggestions to improve the current law and regulations."

The same system has been established in many fields in China, including tourism, environment protection and public security, Chen said. "The result showed that it is an effective measure to communicate."

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