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China institutes video streaming blacklist to lock down burgeoning national interest

Tue 26 Apr 2016

Two weeks after the Chinese Ministry of Culture took a very professional interest in the streaming activities of all the country’s major streaming platforms, new measures have been announced to ensure that China’s new passion for streaming video does not go unregulated and unmonitored.

Tech.sina.com has revealed that Beijing will retain a blacklist [Chinese language] for video streamers, with all participating parties agreeing not to use the services of those who appear in it. Additionally any user who wishes to create a streaming channel will need to register their real name with the streaming provider before permission is granted.

Since Beijing appears to be developing policy destined to roll out across the nation, we can fairly safely assume that the ‘participating parties’ will be…all of them. However the parties in question for the time being will be ISPs and network providers based in Beijing.

On the 14th of April the Ministry of Culture announced a comprehensive investigation into major China-based streaming providers, including Zhanqi TV, Panda.tv, Douyu and YY, which remain under investigation for hosting content sexually vulgar or explicit content, or content which is violent or likely to incite viewers to crime.

The primary streaming video providers in China -including Youku, Letv and iQiyi – have already pledged by group consensus to specific standards and practices in facilitating streaming, including the retention of live streams for 15 days after broadcast, enough staff to monitor all streaming output 24 hours a day, maintaining their own blacklists of those who infringe streaming rules, and confirming the actual identities of streamers in advance.

The number of China’s streaming viewers has been estimated at 200 million, and growing. The main draws for streaming in China are professional gamers and ‘lifestyle’ presenters, which in China – as with the west’s vloggers – tend to be attractive young women who often appear in provocative attire.

Tech in Asia notes that even the deep-cleavaged – but otherwise non-sexual – appearances of popular streaming stars is thought by more conservative Chinese people to represent a rocky road, and that this demographic supports the Ministry of Culture’s new crackdown.

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