China targets celebrities and their followers in new campaign to “clean up cyberspace”

BEIJING, Jan 25 (Reuters) – China’s Cyberspace Administration launched a month-long “cyber cleanup” campaign on Tuesday, which it said will focus on online abuse, “chaos” in groups of celebrity followers and the “cult of money”, among other issues.

The administration made the announcement on its official WeChat account on Tuesday, saying it would closely scrutinize content platforms and advertisements as part of the campaign during the Chinese New Year period.

The goal is to “rectify disorder on the Internet, curb the spread of unhealthy culture”, “to create a healthy, festive and harmonious online environment for Internet users, especially minors during the Chinese New Year,” said the administration. in the statement.

China first launched a crackdown on its booming entertainment industry in the summer of last year, targeting the behavior of celebrities and fan groups, and has signaled that strict supervision will continue.

The Chinese New Year period, also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, is one of the most important celebrations in China and is marked by a week of holidays.

The Administration said it would focus on cyberbullying and online rumor-mongering, as well as any online behavior that could be seen as displaying lavish lifestyles, promoting the cult of money or superstition.

It will also strictly prevent “illegal and immoral” celebrities from holding any online events that could help them become so again, it added. (Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Sophie Yu; edited in Spanish by Benjamín Mejías Valencia)

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