A Study on Internet Industry Self-regulation in China and Its Implications for Child Protection in Cyberspace

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Self-regulation of the Internet industry has been a popular policy approach adopted by many countries. However, unlike self-regulation of more traditional industries, self-regulation of the Internet industry has been a challenging process due to the sheer volume of cyberspace and involvement of stakeholders located beyond any single country’s jurisdiction. The industry has achieved limited success in self-regulation, specifically in the area of child protection in cyberspace. China has actively adopted a policy of Internet industry self-regulation and public supervision of the Internet industry in order to remove online material that is not suitable for children. This paper critically reviews China’s pre-emptive government regulation and stern actions to regulate the Internet industry to monitor the material that the Internet industry allows through its network. Despite criticism of the Chinese Government for its attempts to control freedom of expression through the Internet, this paper argues that China has in its own unique ways managed to monitor the contents in cyberspace. There are many valuable lessons to be learnt from the Chinese experience. Studying the unique working relationship that has evolved between the Chinese Government and the Internet industry may be beneficial in understanding the ways in which vulnerable population groups such as children can be protected in cyberspace.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10.1177/2516602620930944
Pages (from-to)297-309
Number of pages13
JournalThe international journal of community and social development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


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