China's Provisions on the Administration of Internet Audio and Video Programming Services

Unofficial translation of China's "Provisions on the Administration of Internet Audio and Video Programming Services" issued by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) and the Ministry of Information Industry of the People’s Republic of China on December 20, 2007, effective January 31, 2008.


Director of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television: Wang Taihua
Minister of the Ministry of Information Industry of the People’s Republic of China: Wang Xudong


Article 1.
These Provisions are formulated in order to safeguard state interests and the public interest, protect the public and the lawful interests of Internet video and audio (A/V) service provider work units, standardize an order of Internet A/V programming services, and promote healthy orderly development in accordance with relevant state regulations.


Article 2.
These Provisions apply to Internet A/V activities provided to the public over the Internet (including mobile phone Internet networks, hereafter called “Internet”) within the People’s Republic of China. In these Provisions, online audio and video programming services signifies the activities of producing, editing, integrating and using the Internet to transmit A/V programs to the public, as well as uploading transmission of A/V programs for others.


Article 3.
Departments under the State Council responsible for the radio, film, and television industries are responsible for managing the Internet A/V programming services industry. They are responsible for the implementing the supervisory management of A/V programming services, overall planning for the development of the online A/V programming industry, industry management, and building content and monitoring security.


Departments of information industry under the State Council are responsible for the Internet industry. They engage in the corresponding supervisory management of the implementation of Internet A/V programming services in accordance with their responsibility for the telecommunications industry.


Based on their respective responsibilities, departments of local people’s governments responsible for radio, film and television as well as local telecommunications administration organizations have corresponding responsibility for supervisory management of Internet A/V program service provider units and implementation of access services within their respective administrative areas.


Article 4.
Internet A/V program service provider work units as well as related Internet operations units are an important force for building Internet culture, undertaking responsibility for building a unique Chinese Internet culture and safeguarding the security of Internet cultural information. They should be conscious of respecting the constitution, laws and administrative regulations, and accepting the management of departments responsible for the Internet A/V programming services industry and the Internet industry


Article 5.
Internet A/V program service provider work units that make up national mass organizations and social groups are in charge of formulating industry norms for self-regulation, initiating civilized means of getting online and managing the net, constructing a healthy civilized online environment, transmitting healthy and beneficial A/V programming, resisting the transmission of degenerate and backwards culture, and other activities developed under the direction of SARFT.


Article 6.
The development of A/V programming services must beneficially disseminate advanced socialist culture, promoting the overall progress of society and overall human development, and promoting social harmony. Those engaged in providing Internet A/V programming services shall persevere in serving the people, serving socialism, persevere in providing correct guidance, place benefit to society at the forefront, construct a core socialist value system, respect socialist values and norms, vigorously carry forward the cultural thought of modern progress and social advancement, vigorously carry forward outstanding ethnic cultural traditions, provide more and better Internet A/V programming services, satisfy the ever increasing requirements of the masses, continue to enrich the vigorous cultural lives of the masses, fully develop methods to refresh cultural spirits, mold sentiment, and cheer body and minds, create a desirable online space for youth, and form cooperative and sharing vibrant homes.


Article 7.
In accordance with these Provisions, those who engage in providing Internet A/V programming services shall obtain a “License to transmit A/V programming over information networks” (hereafter called “License”) issued by the departments responsible for radio, film, and television or follow procedures on record.


Any work unit and individual that fails to act in accordance with these Provisions to obtain a License issued by the departments responsible for radio, film and television or to follow procedures on record, may not engage in providing Internet A/V programming services.


The guidelines for Internet A/V programming service providers are formulated by the departments responsible for radio, film and television and information industry under the State Council.


Article 8.
Those applying to engage in Internet A/V programming services shall simultaneously meet the following conditions:


  1. Have the status of legal persons, be work units that are wholly state-owned or with controlling stakes held by the state, and have no record of illegal activities for 3 years prior to the application date;
  2. Have a complete broadcast management system for programming security and technical measures for protecting security;
  3. Have A/V programming resources that are suitable for its business and conform to state regulations;
  4. Have technical capacity, online resources and funding, as well as lawful sources of funding that are suitable for its business;
  5. Have specialized personnel, primary investors and managers who have no record of violating laws and regulations for three years prior to the application date that are suitable for its business;
  6. A technical plan that conforms to state standards, industry standards and technical norms.
  7. Conform to the overall plan, overall positions, and industry guidelines for Internet A/V programming services determined by departments responsible for radio, film and television under the State Council;
  8. Conform to laws, administrative regulations and conditions stipulated in relevant national provisions.

Article 9.
Those engaged in services in the form of radio or television stations and current events A/V news services, in addition to conforming to Article 8 of these Provisions, shall also have radio or television broadcast organization licenses or Internet news information services licenses. Among these, for those that use self-made channels to broadcast A/V programs, applications are to be submitted to radio and television stations at the local (municipal) level and above or central news work units.

Those engaged in hosting, interviewing, or reporting types of A/V services, other than conforming to the stipulations in Article 8 of these Provisions, shall also have radio or television production licenses and Internet news information services licenses; those engaging in self-produced online serials (film) types of services, must also have radio or television programming production licenses.


Without approval, no organization or individual is permitted to use the proprietary name of a radio or television station over the Internet to develop a business.


Article 10.
Those applying for a License shall apply to the department of the people’s governments responsible for radio, film and television at the provincial, autonomous regional, or municipality level. Work units directly subordinate to the central government apply to the department responsible for radio, film and television under the State Council.


Departments responsible for radio, film and television of people’s governments at the provincial, autonomous regional, or municipality level shall provide convenient services, and shall provide first-stage comments within 20 days of receiving an application. The State Council department responsible for radio, film and television shall grant or deny permission within 40 days after receiving the application or the first-stage comments, and within this time period expert examination and comment shall be done within 20 days. If permission is granted, the applicant will be issued a License and a public announcement made; if permission is denied, the applicant will be notified of the reasons in writing. The License shall record clearly the broadcast symbol of the Internet A/V programming services, name, types of services provided, and other items.


Licenses are effective for 3 years. When the valid term expires, those who need to continue engaging in Internet A/V programming services shall reapply through the original issuing agency with the related material conforming to Article 8 of these Provisions within 30 days prior to the expiration of the license.


Radio and television stations at the local (municipal) level and above that are engaged in the transmission of Internet A/V programming shall carry out procedures on record with departments responsible for radio, film and television at the provincial level and above. Central news work units engaging in the transmission of Internet A/V programming shall carry out procedures on record with the department responsible for radio, film and television under the State Council. 30 days before launching the transmission of programming, the work unit on record shall submit a web address, website name, channel for relaying radio or television, program name and related material to the record; and the department responsible for radio, film and television shall make a public announcement of this record.


Article 11.
Work units that obtain a License shall apply for a telecommunications business operations license or carry out related procedures on record with telecommunications administration organizations at the provincial (autonomous regional, municipality) level or the departments responsible for information industry under the State Council (hereafter called departments responsible for telecommunications) in accordance with the Measures on the Administration of Internet Information Services. Work units that obtain a License shall departments responsible for commercial administration to carry out registration or further registration procedures. With the permission of departments responsible for radio, film and television, departments responsible for telecommunications shall strictly administer the domain names and IP addresses of Internet A/V service provider work units.


Article 12.
Internet A/V program service provider work units that modify their registration, shareholders, shareholders’ rights structures, undergo major changes in assets or become publicly listed and other major financing activities, and also if business matters exceed the scope of the License, shall carry out procedures for examination and approval according to these Provisions. The place of business, legally designated representatives, web address of the Internet information services work unit, and the legal change of the website name shall be recorded with the departments responsible for radio, film and television and telecommunications within 15 days after the modification. If the modifications involve the commercial registration, they shall conduct registration procedures with the departments responsible for commercial administrative management.


Article 13.
Internet A/V program service provider work units shall provide Internet A/V programming services within 90 days of obtaining a License. If services are not provided within this period, the License will be canceled by the issuing institution. If there are special reasons, the issuing institution must agree. Those who apply to terminate services shall report to the issuing institution 60 days prior to the cancellation of the License of the issuing institution. If business is stopped continuously for over 60 days, the original issuing institution will cancel the License in accordance with the handling of termination of services.


Article 14.
Internet A/V program service provider work units shall, according to the items recorded or filed in their Licenses, develop internet A/V programming services and display the State Council radio, film, and television department’s symbol of approval and name as well as the License or record number on prominent locations on their transmission interfaces.


No work unit may offer services for commercial gain, signal transmission, server management or other financing and technical capabilities relating to Internet A/V programming without a License.


Article 15.
State-owned strategic investors are encouraged to invest in Internet A/V program service industry; and Internet A/V program service provider work units are encouraged to actively open up a new era of Internet and mobile network specialized services, in order to mobilize more media and more media websites to produce positive, healthy A/V programming, and work hard to raise the capabilities supplied by Internet A/V programming. Film and television production bases and television programming production work units are encouraged to produce more to produce more suitable online dramas (film) and entertainment programming, and to actively develop online ethnic film and television productions. Internet A/V program service provider work units are encouraged to broadcast A/V programming that is beneficial to the public.


Internet A/V program service provider work units shall respect copyright law and stipulations in administrative laws and regulations, adopt measures to protect copyright, and protect the lawful interests of copyright holders.


Article 16.
Internet A/V program service provider work units that provide A/V programming and Internet operations work units that provide access to A/V programming services shall conform to laws, administrative regulations, and departmental rules. A/V programming already transmitted shall be kept in its entirety for at least 60 days. A/V programming may not contain the following content that:
1) violates the basic principles confirmed in the Constitution;
2) endangers national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity;
3) divulges state secrets, endangers state security or harms national honor and interests;
4) incites ethnic hatred or discrimination, harms ethnic solidarity, or infringes on ethnic customs and traditions;
5) propagates religious sects and superstition;
6) disturbs social order, or disrupting social stability;
7) induces minors to commit illegal crimes, inflames violence, pornography, gambling, or terrorist activities;
8) insults or defames others, infringes on citizens’ individual privacy rights or the legal rights of others;
9) endangers social morality or harms outstanding ethnic cultural traditions;
10) is other content prohibited by law and administrative regulations.


Article 17.
Film and television dramas and other types of programming that make use of Internet A/V programming services shall conform to relevant state administrative rules for the broadcast of film and television programming. A/V current events news programming transmitted by Internet A/V program service provider units shall be current events A/V news programming that is broadcast by radio stations at the local (municipal) level and above, produced by television stations, or published on the websites of central news work units.


Work units without a License may not provide uploading or transmission services of A/V programming for individuals. Internet A/V program service provider work units may not allow individuals to upload A/V current events news programming. In providing blogging, video-sharing and other types of uploading and transmission of A/V programming services, they shall explain that uploaders may not upload A/V programming that violates these Provisions. No work unit or individual may transmit, link to, join with, or integrate with illegal radio or television channels or A/V programming websites.


Article 18.
Departments responsible for radio, film and television that discover Internet A/V program service providers have transmitted Internet A/V programming in violation of these Provisions shall adopt the necessary measures stop it. Internet A/V program service provider work units shall immediately delete and preserve relevant records of programming containing content in violation of these Provisions. They shall carry out reporting obligations and fulfill the administrative requirements of the relevant responsible departments.


The primary investors and managers of Internet A/V program service provider work units shall be responsible for content that is transmitted and uploaded.


Article 19.
Internet A/V program service providers shall choose network operations work units that have a lawfully-obtained Internet access services telecommunications management license or a radio/television programming transmission management license. They shall protect user rights according to law, fulfill commitments to users, and protect user information. They shall not carry out false propaganda or mislead users, enact rules that are unfair or unreasonable to users, or harm the lawful interests of users. In providing paid services, they shall use distinct measures to publicize the types, scope, cost standards and time limits of A/V programming services they provide, and inform users of the conditions and methods for suspending or canceling Internet A/V programming services.


Article 20.
Network operations work units that provide Internet A/V programming signal transmissions services, shall protect the lawful interests of Internet A/V program service provider work units and guarantee the security of transmissions. They shall not make emergency broadcasts or temporarily withhold A/V program signals without authorization. Prior to providing services they shall examine the Internet A/V program service provider work unit’s License or certification materials on record, and provide access services in accordance with the recorded items or stated scope of the License.


Article 21.
Departments responsible for radio, film, and television and telecommunications shall establish a public supervision and reporting system. The public has the right to report the illegal and unlawful activities of Internet A/V program service provider work units. The relevant departments shall handle these in a timely manner and may not shift responsibility. Radio, film and television or telecommunications and other supervisory departments that discover activities in violation of these Provisions that are not considered the responsibility of that department shall refer them to the authorized department for handling.


Telecommunications departments shall provide radio, film, and television departments with the necessary technical system connections and website data inquiry material.


Article 22.
Departments responsible for radio, film and television carry out on-the-spot inspections in accordance with the law, and relevant work units and individuals shall cooperate at those times. Personnel of departments responsible for radio, film and television shall take the initiative to produce relevant evidence at time of inspections in accordance with the law.


Article 23.
For the following acts that constitute violations of these Provisions. departments responsible for radio, film, and television at the county level above may issue warnings, instructions for correction, and issue fines of not more than 30,000 RMB. At the same time, they may issue warnings as well as issue fines of not more than 20,000 RMB to primary investors and managers:


  1. Using the proprietary name of a radio or television station over the Internet to develop a business without authorization;
  2. Modifying their registration, shareholders, shareholders’ rights structures, have major changes in assets or becoming publicly listed and other major financing activities without carrying out procedures for examination and approval;
  3. Failing to establish complete programming management standards, failing to adopt measures to protect copyright, or failing to carry out notice, deletion, and reporting duties in regards to the transmission of harmful content;
  4. Failing to clearly display the symbol, name, License and record number on the transmission interface;
  5. Failing to protect programming records and submit inquiries to the responsible department;
  6. Offering services for commercial gain, signal transmission, server management or other financing and technical capabilities relating to Internet A/V programming without a License;
  7. Failing to carry out inspection requirements or providing access services that are outside the scope of matters provided in the Internet A/V program service provider work unit License or that are stipulated on record;
  8. Carrying out false propaganda or misleading users;
  9. Leaking private user information without consent or authorization;
  10. Three violations by a Internet A/V program service provider work unit within one year;
  11. Refusing, obstructing, or delaying departments responsible for radio, film and television in carrying out supervisory inspections practicing fraud in the supervisory inspection process;
  12. Using false proof, documents and other methods to obtain a License.

In any of these 12 acts occur, the issuing agency shall cancel the License.


Article 24.
Those who engage in Internet A/V programming services without authorization may be issued warnings, instructions for correction, and fines of not more than 30,000 RMB by departments responsible for radio, film and television at the county level and above. If the circumstances are serious, they shall be punished according to Article 47 of the Regulations for the Administration of Radio and Television.


Those who transmit content in violation of these Provisions may be issued warnings, issued instructions for correction, and fines of not more than 30,000 RMB by departments responsible for radio, film and television at the county level and above. If the circumstances are serious, they shall be punished according to Article 49 of the Regulations for the Administration of Radio and Television.


Those who transmit, link to, join with, or integrate with illegal radio or television channels and illegal content on A/V programming websites; or make emergency broadcasts or temporarily withhold A/V program signals without authorization, may be issued warnings, issued instructions for correction, and fines of not more than 30,000 RMB by departments responsible for radio, film and television at the county level and above. If the circumstances are serious, they shall be punished according to Article 51 of the Regulations for the Administration of Radio and Television.


Article 25.
For Internet A/V program service provider work units that violate these Provisions, departments responsible for telecommunications shall shut down websites, cancel corresponding licenses or records, and instruct network operations work units that provide signals access services to terminate access in accordance with the written guidelines of departments responsible for radio, film and television, and in accordance with law on telecommunications administration and Internet administration as well as stipulations in administrative laws and regulations. Those who refuse to execute decisions to terminate access services are in violation of Article 57 of the Regulations on Telecommunications, and shall have their licenses canceled by the department responsible for telecommunications in accordance with Article 78 of the Regulations on Telecommunications.

Those who violate rules on the administration of public security shall be punished by public security organs according to law. If acts constitute a crime, criminal responsibility will be sought by administration of justice departments according to law.


Article 26.
For those departments responsible for radio, film, television, telecommunications, and other departments that do not carry out the obligations of these Provisions or abuse their authority, the relevant responsible person(s) will be punished according to law. If acts constitutes a crime, criminal responsibility will be sought by administration of justice departments according to law.


Article 27.
For Internet A/V program service providers that engage in major illegal and unlawful activities, in addition to being punished in accordance with relevant stipulations, their primary investors and managers cannot invest in or engage in providing Internet A/V programming services within 5 years of the date of punishment.


Article 28.
The use of the Internet to provide video frequencies for instant messaging services is subject to the supervisory management of the departments responsible for information industry under the State Council in accordance with relevant state stipulations.


Those who use local area networks and Internet virtual private networks to provide online A/V programming services to the public must submit an application to the industry department, obtain pre-examination and approval from the department responsible for information industry under the State Council, obtain verification and approval from the department responsible for radio, film and television under the State Council, and carry out supervisory management in accordance with relevant state stipulations.


Article 29.
These provisions are effective January 31, 2008. Where stipulations of prior regulations are not in accordance with these Provisions, these Provisions shall be enforced.