China May Require Bloggers To Register Under Their Real Names

A group that works closely with Beijing on Internet policy wants to pull the plug on anonymity for bloggers.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

October 23, 2006

1 Min Read

China has yet to take an official stand on whether to require bloggers to register under their real names, but a group that works closely with Beijing on Internet policy is recommending that such a system be implemented.

Huang Chengqing, secretary general of the Internet Society of China, told the official Chinese news agency Xinhua that a real-name system for bloggers was necessary for China to standardize and develop its blog industry. The society, an affiliate of China's Ministry of Information Industry, is working on such a system for the Chinese government.

"We suggest, in a recent report submitted to the ministry, that a real-name system should be implemented in China's blog industry," Huang told Xinhua Sunday. The ISC also recommends that bloggers be allowed to continue to write under pseudonyms.

Huang acknowledged that quite a bit of work still needs to be done before a real-name system can be launched.

"For example, a complete personal data protection system should be established in advance," Huang said. In addition, the ISC advises the government to seek the opinions and advice from bloggers.

China has 17.5 million bloggers, according to the ISC.

China has often come under fire by human rights groups for censoring political dissent and other information that flows over the Internet. The country, however, has defended its right to do so under Chinese law.

Nevertheless, the nation's clampdown on information has become a major headache for U.S. Internet search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft MSN, which have been criticized for helping Beijing in order to continue doing business in China.

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