Beijing orders microbloggers to register real names

Discussion in 'China' started by Galaxy, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. Galaxy

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    Beijing orders microbloggers to register real names

    (AFP) – 2 hours ago

    BEIJING — Beijing city authorities on Friday issued new rules requiring microbloggers to register their real names before posting online, as the Chinese government tightens its grip on the Internet.

    The city government now requires users of weibos -- the Chinese version of Twitter -- to give their real names to website administrators, its official news portal said.

    It is not clear how many web users will be affected by the new rules which will apply to website operators registered in Beijing.

    Sina, owner of China's most popular microblogging service which has more than 200 million users, is registered in the Chinese capital.

    With more than half a billion Chinese now online, authorities in Beijing are concerned about the power of the Internet to influence public opinion in a country that maintains tight controls on its traditional media outlets.

    Ordinary Chinese are increasingly using weibos to vent their anger over official corruption, scandals and disasters.

    A weibo user is believed to have broken the news of a deadly high-speed rail crash in China in July that provoked widespread condemnation of the government -- much of it online.

    Leading Internet firms have already been pressured to tighten their grip on the web, with propaganda chief Li Changchun, fifth in the Communist Party hierarchy, meeting the heads of China's main search engine Baidu in September.

    That same month, the head of Sina said the web giant had set up "rumour-curbing teams", apparently in response to government pressure.

    The Internet has posed a huge challenge to government attempts to block content it deems politically sensitive through a censorship system known as the "Great Firewall".

    The number of weibo users has more than trebled since the end of 2010, according to government data, and the speed with which they have taken off has made it impossible for censors to keep up.

    AFP: Beijing orders microbloggers to register real names
     
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