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  • Lawrence Ng

China Announces Internet “Purification” Campaign Ahead of 2022 Olympics and CNY

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) recently announced it would soon implement a "purification" campaign to clean up "illegal online content" in China.

Credit: AFP via Getty Images

The CAC, China's top cybersecurity regulator, intends to use the campaign to create a "healthy, happy and peaceful online environment" ahead of Chinese New Year and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, held on 1 February and 4 February 2022, respectively.

The regulator also aims to correct "the disorder on the Internet" and stop the spread of "unhealthy culture" through the campaign.

The People's Daily is one of China's most popular mass media companies. Credit: The People's Daily | HKFP remix

To achieve such an environment, the CAC calls on key media sites to carefully manage their homepages, trending topic search lists, push pop-up windows and important news content pages to present "positive information". This order also means that online content that shows violence and other illegal or bad information should be removed to achieve a "positive online atmosphere".

The month-long "purification" also covers cyberbullying, the spreading of online rumours and any online behaviour that could be considered as showing off a luxurious lifestyle, encouragement of money worship or superstition. These also include local celebrities and fan groups, which are already targetted since September 2021, when the Chinese government first launched its crackdown on its entertainment industry.

Huang Wei (left) introduces a mouse during a live-stream show in April 2021. Credit: Visual China Group

You may remember the Chinese government ordering broadcasters at the time to shun artists with "effeminate" styles and "incorrect political positions" to cultivate a patriotic atmosphere after a series of tax evasion and sexual assault scandals involving celebrities came to light. These celebrities include famous Chinese live-streamer Huang Wei, also known as Viya, who received a US$210 million fine for tax evasion. Chinese Canadian singer Kris Wu, accused of sexual assault after an 18-year-old called him out for pressuring her and other women for sex, is also included.

The month-long "purification" also serves as a measure to prevent "illegal and immoral" celebrities from regaining their popularity and holding any online events, the CAC said.

  • The Cyberspace Administration in China recently announced a "purification" campaign to clean up "illegal online content" in China.

  • The CAC intends to use the campaign to correct "the disorder on the Internet", stop the spread of "unhealthy culture" and create a "healthy, happy and peaceful online environment" ahead of Chinese New Year and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

  • Key media companies are ordered to manage their homepages carefully and pop-up windows to present "positive information" while removing information presenting violence, rumours and other illegal or bad information.

  • The campaign also targets celebrities and their fan groups to remove any content that the CAC may consider as showing off a lavish lifestyle and the encouragement of money worshipping or superstition.

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