Authorities in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, have proposed regulations to protect child models after a video went viral showing a girl being kicked by her mother during a fashion photography session.
The regulations, said to be the first of their kind in China, prohibit adults from beating or scolding child models.
Companies are banned from hiring children under the age of 10 for advertising, requiring children to model longer than a month or having them work continuously for more than a week. Any work session or event involving child models should not last for more than four hours.
The draft also stated that adults should not make child models pose inappropriately or wear clothing that are not a match for their age range. It also requires regular checks to be conducted by the authorities.
Members of the public are encouraged to report infringements on the rights and interests of minors.
"Any modeling activities or adults harming the interests of children may be subject to public interest litigation," said Chen Yungao, a prosecutor in the people's procuratorate in Hangzhou's Binjiang district, as quoted by the Hangzhou Daily on Thursday.
The procuratorate, together with Hangzhou market regulators and the district's Communist Youth League Committee, drafted the regulations after a video of a mother kicking her 3-year-old daughter during a photo shoot drew outrage on Chinese social media in early April.
The girl, Niu Niu, was kicked because she was "too tired to perform".
Many viewers of the online video said the mother had been abusive and was only using her daughter to make money.
The woman apologised in a statement on Sina Weibo two days after the incident, explaining that the girl is deeply loved and receives the best care. She said she had no intention of hurting or abusing her.
She also told Beijing News that the family does not rely on the child to earn money, and her husband has a job.
The girl had modeled for online retail stores for around six months. Modeling photos of Niu Niu have all been taken off commercial sites since the incident.
As the country's e-commerce industry develops, the demand for child models and children's products has increased, especially in the region of Hangzhou, which is home to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
According to Huzhou Zaixian, a news portal in Zhejiang, a child model can earn 80 to 150 yuan (S$16 to S$30) for each outfit they display.