Highlights of China's laws and regulations in 2016

Editor's note: The year 2016 is coming to an end. Many new laws and regulations implemented in the year have changed people’s lives in China, profoundly and forever. Here we invite you to review some of the highlights with us.

Anti-Domestic Violence Law

China's first anti-domestic violence law came into force on March 1, bringing domestic violence under legal supervision so that people may freely say "no" to it.

The new law provides categories of domestic violence, and addresses their prevention and disposition. Violence involving cohabitation, up-bringing of children and domestic employment are all covered by the new law.


Nearly one-fourth of married Chinese women have experienced domestic violence, according to the All-China Women's Federation.

The legislation has been hailed as a milestone in the movement to protect women from physical and psychological abuse at home.

Legal experts say the law is designed to protect the rights of women and children within the family and to prevent domestic violence from being tacitly condoned by being considered an internal family problem rather than a social issue.

Live video streaming regulation

A new regulation on live streaming, in effect since December 1, is designed to help authorities manage online streaming.

Released by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, the regulation makes it compulsory for presenters to register with their real names and obliges service providers to censor content and blacklist users who break the rules, prohibiting them from registering again.

It also bans the use of live streams to undermine national security, destabilize society, disturb social order, infringe upon others’ rights and interests, or disseminate inappropriate content, including pornography.

Online streaming has grown rapidly in China in recent years, generating huge business opportunities while bringing challenges to regulators.

As of June, the number of streaming service users was 514 million, 72.4 percent of China’s Internet population, according to the 2016 China Online Streaming Development Study Report.

Judicial guideline on telecom and online fraud

A judicial guideline on telecom and online fraud, released on December 20 by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security, stipulates that telecom and online swindlers should be given heavier penalties under 10 circumstances, including causing the death of a victim, cheating the disabled or the elderly, or committing fraud by pretending to be legal officials.

From January to November, China uncovered 93,000 cases of telecom and online fraud, catching 52,000 offenders; both figures had doubled year-on-year.

In the guideline, for cases in which judicial bodies find it difficult to establish how much money has been swindled, they can punish fraudsters for sending text message spam more than 5,000 times or making more than 500 prank calls.

Members of a fraud gang who surrender themselves, provide clues for judicial bodies and hand over illicit money of their own accord may be given a more lenient punishment.

Charity Law

Lawmakers approved what is the country's first charity legislation on March 16 at the closing meeting of the annual session of the National People's Congress.

The new law is expected to encourage more philanthropy, by better-regulated charitable organizations, and establish more trusted methods of fund-raising for the public, especially online.

Many charities today are Internet-based, or increasingly run on third-party platforms such as Tencent Holdings Ltd-owned gongyi.qq.com, or love.alipay.com and gongyi.taobao.com, which are run by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, or gongyi.weibo.com, offered by Sina Corp.

To help safeguard against fraud, the new law stipulates that only charitable organizations officially approved for public fundraising activities can post relevant information online, and that all charity information channels must now be designated by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Car-hailing services regulation

The regulation, which took effect since December 1, requires that car-hailing platforms, such as Didi Chuxing and Uber Technologies, review the qualifications of drivers and their cars to guarantee safe rides.

The platforms are responsible for checking whether drivers' private cars are in good condition and are insured, and they must report the results to local transportation bureaus.

For the first time, it legalizes online car-hailing services and came up come strict rules for drivers, including three or more years of driving experience, no record of traffic crimes, no record of dangerous driving, drug abuse or drinking and driving and no record of violent crimes.

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Editor: Liu Yufen, Spark
Designer: Spark
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