China’s Cyberspace Watchdog Mulls Stricter Online Oversight 

Cyberspace Administration of China

The Cyberspace Administration of China is considering a revamping of internet oversight regulations, rules that have not been updated in more than 20 years, according to a Reuters report on Friday (Jan. 8).

China’s biggest internet watchdog is seeking out public opinion until Feb. 7 about how the rules should be revised in order to bring about expanded oversight for digital payments, eCommerce and livestreams. The plan to revise cyberspace regulations comes at a time when China is stepping up the scrutiny of tech giants.

“Now becoming more specific is mainly to help administrative departments to enforce the rules in the real world,” Shi Yuhang, a lawyer with the Huiye Law Firm, told Reuters. “After these many years, the regulatory authorities have also deepened their understanding of the industry.”

Internet information services as defined by the Cyberspace Administration of China will soon include digital platform-based firms, news agencies, information providers and search engines.

The move would “promote the healthy and orderly development of internet information services,” it said on its official WeChat account, per Reuters. It said it is striving to protect people’s rights and interests and safeguard national security.

The regulator enforces China’s digital censorship rules, but specific definitions weren’t developed when the agency was created in 2000.

FinTech leaders in China started scrambling for capital in November 2020 when regulators first started cracking down on financial services and payments firms.

Last month, China drafted new antitrust rules for internet companies and pulled the plug on Jack Ma’s double filing.