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China commits to internet 'purification' in the run-up to the Beijing Winter Olympics and the Lunar New Year

 



As part of a campaign to clean up the internet ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics and one of the most important annual holidays in the country, China's top cybersecurity regulator has pledged to crack down on "illegal" online content.

 

It was announced on Tuesday by China's Cyberspace Administration that it will launch a month-long internet "purification" campaign in order to promote a "online environment that is healthy, happy, and peaceful."

 

Xi Jinping's powerful internet watchdog, which was established in 2014 to protect China's internet and data security, timed the campaign to coincide with the start of the Lunar New Year, a major festival that runs from January 31 to February 6, according to the official website.

 

However, the start of the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will begin in early February, will coincide with the start of the event. Since Xi came to power in 2012, the games have become China's most important international sporting event, and the Chinese government has placed a high value on them as a showcase for a strong and united China.

 

According to the plan of the cyberspace agency, the homepages of major media websites, trending topic search lists, push pop-up windows, and critical news content pages must all be carefully managed so that "positive information" is presented to visitors. To foster a "positive online environment," the report says that offensive, vulgar, bloodthirsty, violent, and other illegal or bad content should be removed from the internet.

 

In addition, the regulator stated that it will crack down on online rumors and prevent "illegal and immoral" celebrities from resurfacing on the scene. For years, Chinese authorities have punished celebrities who they believe have acted inappropriately by deleting their social media accounts. After being fined $46 million for tax evasion, major Chinese actress Zheng Shuang's works were taken down from broadcasters and video sites last year, among other things.

 

In addition to those who flaunt wealth or worship money, those who engage in excessive eating or drinking, and those who advocate for or engage in internet fortune telling are among the "bad" behaviors targeted by the regulatory body.

 

There was no surprise in the campaign's launch, given that Beijing launched a broad regulatory campaign last year to tighten internet control and purge what it considers to be problems in the online space as well as in the entertainment sector.

 

Earlier this year, the cybersecurity firm launched an online campaign to combat what it calls "chaotic" celebrity fan culture. Officials later stated that they would eliminate "unhealthy" content from programs, ban celebrities who had "incorrect political views" or a sexually explicit style, and promote a "patriotic" atmosphere.

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