New live-streaming rules crack down on women’s clothing, minors

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Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei province, has released the country’s first official standards for live-streaming organizations, forbidding women from wearing provocative clothing and imposing stricter rules on underage streamers.

The standards were released on Monday by the Hubei provincial government and Wuhan’s Software Industry Association. Female live-streamers are forbidden from wearing sexy uniforms as well as clothing deemed overly revealing, transparent, or flesh-colored and figure-hugging. The official press release did not define what is deemed to be revealing or inappropriate, nor did it mention clothing restrictions for male live-streamers.

According to the new rules, minors who live-stream by themselves must provide the ID card and residence permit of a guardian, as well as an application form signed by a parent. The rules came into effect on Tuesday according to state media Xinhuanet (in Chinese), a website affiliated with state-owned media outlet Xinhua.

When asked if the company had received notice of the new standards, a representative of live-streaming platform Kuaishou told TechNode that it is “still in the process of understanding the situation.”

While China’s national government hasn’t previously published standards for live-streaming, it did release a broad set of new regulations for short-video platforms earlier this month. They forbid sexual content, violence, and items that threaten social stability, among others.

Due to increased scrutiny, live-streaming platforms have also carried out their own crackdowns. Last summer, for instance, Douyin shut down over 33,000 user accounts in one month for violations including pornographic content, copyright infringement, offensive language, and spreading rumors. More recently, video platform iQiyi blurred out earrings worn by men in its TV show “I Fiori Delle Sorelle.”

For companies, the new rules say that live-streaming platforms should provide 24-hour channels through which viewers can report streamers. Such channels must be convenient as well as eye-catching. Within 90 seconds after receiving a report, platforms should stop live-streamers from posting, close down their account, or take other punitive measures.

The standards were developed by universities in Hubei province and experts from five live-streaming companies, including Wuhan-based Douyu, among others. It’s unclear if the standards would apply nationwide.

As of Tuesday morning, videos of female live-streamers wearing uniforms could still be found on popular streaming app Douyin. The official press release also didn’t specify what punishments, if any, await platforms and individuals who do not comply.

The head of Hubei’s Market Supervision Administration told Xinhuanet that the rules will push forward healthy development and that the province would continue to “develop more standards to promote industry self-discipline.”

Update: This article was updated at 4:17pm on January 29 to reflect that China’s government previously released rules restricting live-streaming. Before yesterday, however, it had not published a set of standards for the industry.