China revises laws to strengthen protection of minors online

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chinese officials and delegates attend AFN closing session in Beijing

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China has revised its laws to strengthen the protection of people under the age of 18 online, the state-run Xinhua news agency said on Saturday, forcing providers of Internet products and services to take action if necessary.

The revised laws, passed for adoption by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Saturday and coming into force on June 1 next year, state that providers of Internet products and services “must not offer underage products and addictive services, ”Xinhua reported.

Providers of online services, including games, live streaming, audio and video, and social media, must put in place “corresponding features” such as time and consumption limits for minors, the news agency said.

Service providers must take the necessary steps to stop cyberbullying, and parents or guardians of minors who are victims of cyberbullying have the right to notify service providers to remove, block or disconnect links.

The revised laws also oblige kindergartens and schools to report harassment and sexual assault of minors to public safety and education authorities.

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