China to tighten Internet control with new rules

June 8, 2012
Customers use computers at an internet cafe in Hami, northwest China. China said Thursday it planned to extend nationwide a requirement for microblog users to register with their real names as part of a sweeping update of rules governing the Internet.

China said Thursday it planned to extend nationwide a requirement for microblog users to register with their real names as part of a sweeping update of rules governing the Internet.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said the revision of rules originally introduced in 2000 aimed to keep pace with change and protect state security, according to a statement posted on its website.

"Many new situations have arisen, (we) are facing new problems," said the ministry, which regulates the industry.

It added the new rules aimed to "promote healthy, orderly development of the Internet, protect state security and public interest".

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

Beijing regularly blocks under a vast online censorship system known as the Great Firewall of , but the growing popularity of microblogs similar to has posed a new challenge.

Under the draft rules, those using forums, blogs and microblogs known as "weibo" will have to register with their .

Previously, only microblog in five cities -- the capital Beijing, the commercial hub of Shanghai, the northern port city of Tianjin and the southern cities of Guangzhou and -- were required to do so under a trial that started last December.

In the past, users had been able to set up microblog accounts under assumed names, making it more difficult for authorities to track them down, and allowing them to set up new accounts if existing ones were shut down.

Microblog users criticised the proposed rules, which are open to public consultation for one month.

"More people are speaking the truth on microblogs, so (the government) wants real-name registration to make it easier to arrest them. This is actually a demonstration of their fear," Changsha Ming Ming said.

Another, who gave the name orcl1158, said: "It's stricter, control and regulation are everywhere."

The rules broaden the definition of Internet services, saying online forums, blogs and microblogs must receive government approval, beyond just websites.

The guidelines also require Internet service providers to save keep records of postings and users' information for one year, up from the previous six months, citing the need to crack down on Internet crime.

China's best-known microblogging site, run by Internet giant Sina, last month unveiled new conditions punishing those who post comments deemed offensive, as it comes under government pressure to clamp down on bloggers.

Explore further: China extends microblog rules to south: report

Related Stories

China extends microblog rules to south: report

December 22, 2011

China is extending rules requiring microblog users to register under their real names to Guangdong, state media said Thursday, after a spate of violent protests in the southern province.

China city tightens control of microblogs

December 26, 2011

Shanghai will require microblog users to register under their real names from Monday, state media said, the latest local government in China to implement the rule after a spate of violent protests.

Beijing issues ultimatum for microblog users

February 8, 2012

Microblog users in Beijing who do not register using their real names by mid-March will be banned from posting comments, a local official said on Wednesday, as authorities tighten their grip on the web.

China looks to boost Internet limits on microblogs

June 7, 2012

(AP) — China plans to stiffen restrictions on Internet service providers as it seeks even greater control over the opinions voiced on the country's lively microblogs and other web forums.

China's main microblog restricts user posts

May 29, 2012

China's best-known microblogging site has introduced new terms and conditions punishing those who post comments deemed offensive, as it comes under government pressure to clamp down on bloggers.

China tells police to use social media

September 27, 2011

China has ordered police nationwide to make more use of social networking sites to ensure greater openness and "dispel misunderstandings", the state Xinhua news agency said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

A not-quite-random walk demystifies the algorithm

December 15, 2017

The algorithm is having a cultural moment. Originally a math and computer science term, algorithms are now used to account for everything from military drone strikes and financial market forecasts to Google search results.

US faces moment of truth on 'net neutrality'

December 14, 2017

The acrimonious battle over "net neutrality" in America comes to a head Thursday with a US agency set to vote to roll back rules enacted two years earlier aimed at preventing a "two-speed" internet.

FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' (Update)

December 14, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit ...

The wet road to fast and stable batteries

December 14, 2017

An international team of scientists—including several researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory—has discovered an anode battery material with superfast charging and stable operation ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.