Stronger Protection for Minors

Xing Hu

Xing HU is a partner, in charge of the firm’s Criminal Practice.

On Children’s’ Day (June 1, 2021), the “Amended Law on the Protection of Minors” came into effect. The Amended Law aims to offer enhanced protections to people under the age of 18, with detailed provision in areas such as family, school, society, internet, government, judiciary, as well as legal responsibilities.

Responsibilities
The Amended Law increases the responsibility of parents and guardians. They will now not only have to protect the life, health and safety of minors, but will also need to look after their physical, psychological, and emotional needs.

Responsibilities for Schools and Kindergartens
Several provisions of the Amended Law create a mandatory obligation for schools and kindergartens to report cases of sexual assault and sexual harassment of minors. Anti-campus bullying and anti-sexual misconduct mechanisms as well as sex education (age appropriate) will be mandatory.

The Amended Law also creates new regulations that must be followed when recruiting staff members. Candidates with any record of illegal or criminal act such as sexual assault and harassment cannot be employed. Schools also need to regularly check their employees’ records to check for these illegal/criminal acts. If so, the employee must be dismissed.

Internet Protections
The Amended Law adds a new chapter on internet protections. Internet service providers, such as online game and online live streaming and social networking providers are required to set up time, permission, and consumption management functions, and to use restrictions in their products to control minors’ use of their services.
Additionally, children under the age of 16 cannot open a live broadcasting account, while a parent or guardian’s consent is required for minors above 16 years old.
Caregivers, but also Internet service facilities for minors provided by schools, communities, libraries, cultural centers, youth palaces etc. need to install minors’ network protection software.

  • Cyberbullying
    Any minor who has suffered cyberbullying, or their caregiver, will have the right to notify the relevant network service provider and have them delete, block, and disconnect links associated with the content.
  • Online games
    The Amended Law stipulates that the central government will establish a unified electronic identity authentication system for minors. Online game service providers shall require minors to register and log in to online games with their real identity information. The Law also imposes a gaming curfew from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
  • Personal information
    Unless otherwise provided by laws and regulations, the consent of the minor’s parents or guardians is necessary for the processing of personal information of minors under the age of 14.

Moreover, minors, or their caregivers, have the right to request that information processors correct or delete the personal information of the minor.

Conclusion
China has a massive group of young internet users. Internet addiction and disputes caused by minors’ uncontrolled activity during live streams and games are not uncommon. The Amended Law offers additional guidance, provisions, and tools aimed at preventing abuse of minors, online game addictions and online bullying, as well as protecting the personal information of minors.

Companies need to make sure they are compliant with the Amended Law. If you have any questions about this subject, please feel free to reach out to us.