Beijing Files Lawsuit Against Tencent to Protect Chinese Youth

By Lars James Hamer, August 9, 2021

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Beijing prosecutors filed a civil public interest lawsuit against Tencent last Friday. 

Prosecutors claim that the ‘youth mode’ on super-app WeChat does not comply with laws protecting minors.

Although the filing did not specifically claim which aspects of WeChat’s youth mode are illegal, prosecutors said that they would support others that wish to bring further lawsuits against Tencent. Any claims must be made to the prosecutor within 30 days. 

WeChat’s youth mode disables certain features of the app, such as payments, finding people nearby and some games or mini-apps for users of a certain age. 

China has called for more to be done to protect minors from online dangers. State media recently blasted excessive online gaming and also called for “healthy idol culture.” The sentiment follows statements from Kris Wu superfans who want to “break the singer out of prison” after the pop star was detained by police in the capital city.

READ MORE: Tencent Stock Down 10% After State Media 'Electronic Drugs' Jibe

Reuters reported that China is looking to crack down on Tencent and other social media and gaming companies.

Last Tuesday, August 3, Chinese state media referred to Tencent’s Honor of Kings as “spiritual opium” and urged for a crackdown on the amount of time China’s youth spends playing online games. 

In July, Tencent was forced to end exclusive music licensing deals with multiple record labels around the world.

[Cover image via @数码君/Weibo]

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