New chapter aims to safeguard minors in cyberspace, target internet addiction
Protection for children has been strengthened in a range
of areas, especially cyberspace, after an amended law was adopted by
China's top legislature over the weekend.
The amended Law on Protection of Minors, which was passed by the
National People's Congress Standing Committee on Saturday after a third
review, has almost twice as many clauses as the old version of the law
and includes a new chapter on internet protection in a bid to protect
those under the age of 18 when they are online.
The chapter clarifies a ban on making, copying, posting or spreading
information that is harmful to juveniles, demanding internet service
providers take measures to prevent such behavior and offer stronger
protection of children's personal information.
Under the law, internet operators should seek permission from the
parents or guardians of children younger than 14 before collecting,
using or processing the youngsters' personal information.
It also stipulates that internet service providers are obliged to
prevent children from becoming addicted to the internet and to stop
The new provisions in the law, which will take effect on June 1, aim
to solve child protection problems that have arisen in the information
era as young people increasingly make use of the internet.
A report issued by the China Internet Network Information Center in
May showed that China had 175 million internet users younger than 18
last year, with young netizens generally surfing the internet to study,
listen to music, play games, chat and watch short videos.
As protection in cyberspace improves, the responsibilities of some
institutions and departments that deal with juveniles have also
The revised law, for example, makes it clear that the country should
establish a database of offenders who sexually assault, abuse, abduct
or violently harm children and share the information with facilities
that work with minors.
Under the law, schools and kindergartens need to establish methods
and improve ways of dealing with bullying and boost preventive measures
against sexual harassment or sexual assault of children.
Additionally, public places including shopping malls, supermarkets,
hospitals, libraries, museums, airports and tourist attractions are
ordered to ensure minors' safety by setting up security systems to
search for missing children, it said.
The law also said hotel operators should ask children for the phone
numbers of their parents or guardians when they try to check in alone or
with other adults. The operators must call police quickly if they
uncover a suspected crime or violation of the law.
"Revising the law is meant to implement the pral leadership's
requirements on understanding, respecting, caring for and serving
minors, as children are the future of a nation and dream of each
family," said Guo Linmao, an official from the NPC Standing Committee's
Legislative Affairs Commission.