China seeks public help in crafting anti-online gambling propaganda


China’s anti-online gambling campaign is seeking public help in building awareness of gambling’s alleged evils, while continuing to inflict pain on gambling operators.

On August 13, a number of Chinese government agencies, including the feared Ministry of Public Security, announced the formal launch of a “publicity and education campaign for combating cross-border gambling.”

The campaign is being rolled out across all major Chinese social media channels, including Weibo, WeChat, Douyin and Kuaishou, and involves both “theme posters and short video solicitation activities.”

The government has invited members of the public to upload their own anti-gambling artwork and videos for consideration to become part of this “important propaganda position for cracking down on cross-border gambling.” Those whose submissions are good enough to be included in the campaign can win free laptops, tablets and other gear, as well as a likely boost in their personal score on China’s ‘social credit’ system. Deadlines for submissions are September 13.

Last week, the National Internet Emergency Center issued a report claiming to have reduced the number of websites “implanted with dark gambling chains” from over 10,000 to “less than 1,000” by the end of last year. China has further enhanced its anti-online gambling efforts this year, with everyone from financial institutions to social media giants to the general public being enlisted in the fight.

Last week, authorities in Jilin province claimed to have disrupted an online gambling ring following a seven-month investigation. The gang reportedly operated eight gambling apps that had over 210k customers who wagered a total of RMB10b (US$1.4b) through a network of over 20 agents across the mainland.

Authorities in Fujian province recently offered a hint of what fate awaits those agents, after a woman was sentenced to one year in prison for accepting illegal underground wagers on Hong Kong’s Mark Six lottery through WeChat. Perhaps this woman should enter the propaganda contest using her own story as a cautionary tale, and maybe win a laptop that might help pass the time during her prison sentence.