China Orders Bloggers to rRegister with Government

From AP, via The Guardian:

The Chinese authorities have ordered all weblogs and websites in the country to register with the government or face closure in Beijing’s latest attempt to control online dissent.

Commercial publishers and advertisers could be fined up to 1m yuan (¬£66,000) for failing to register, according to documents on the Chinese information industry ministry’s website.

Private bloggers or websites must register the complete identity of the person responsible for the site, and the ministry – which has set a June 30 deadline for compliance – said 74% of all sites had already registered.

See also “Ministry of Information Industry: Web Sites That Fail to Register May Be Shut Down” from CECC’s Virtual Academy.

A partial translation of “Get Your Web Site an ‘Identification Card’ Right Away” from the Web site of the China Information Industry is below:

What is the reason for registering non-commercial Web sites? A relevant person revealed to reporters at the Working Meeting of National Non-Commercial Web Site Registration, which convened recently in Baoding, Hebei: “In the process of launching collective registration work, we have run into some man-made obstructions, and the reason for this is relevant work units and individuals in some regions still do not understand, or even have an incorrect understanding of, relevant policies, rules, and registration processes with respect to non-commercial Web site registration, and adopt various obstructionist measures.” No one may engage in Internet information services without having either received authorization or performed registration. . . .

Because in the past our country has supervised commercial Web sites relatively more, and non-commercial Web sites relatively loosely, the situation was such that before Web site registration work began about 90% of non-commercial Web sties did not have any record at relevant government agencies. Today, all sorts of non-commercial Web sites have emerged, and have served a positive function to enrich Internet information, deepen Internet applications, and promote Internet development. At the same time, all sorts of non-commercial Web sites

have emerged, and have brought with them new social problems. Large quantities of garbage, unhealthy, and illegal information flood through them, and harmful information appears that even threatens national security, destroys social stability, and poisons the spiritual health of the youth, and the masses of people have cried out loudly for government agencies to increase its supervision of Internet industries, and ensure the healthy development of Internet enterprises. It has become a top priority to perfect non-commercial Web site registration, the registration supervision system, and quickly introduce supervision measures.

The current registration work impacts a large number of Web sites, and its scope is broad. Relevant people have explained that all Web sites that have an independent domain name should undertake registration. Whether they are Web sites of enterprises or institutions, they should undertake registration, and Web sites of private individuals should also undertake registration.

Looking at those who are opposed [to registration], it is not because their Web sites contain reactionary, pornographic, or other illegal information, but rather they believe that registration will impose a true-name system on Web site owners, and this goes against the spirit of freedom of the Internet. After registration one must display the electronic verification mark on specific location on the Web site, and must also link to the Ministry of Information Industry supervision system for making inquiries, and by doing this it will be immediately clear who the Web site head is, and many people believe this is a control over expression. In fact, it is just as relevant experts have pointed out, the Internet is the same as real society, there is no absolute freedom for any type of behavior, and everything must be done within the scope of respecting the constitution and the law, and must be on the

premise of not infringing on the legal interests of third parties.

Although the Internet control requires a relatively large cost and is not easy to implement, nevertheless no country’s government has abandoned this, and must bring this virtual society under government surveillance and control, and not allow a condition of anarchy to arise. This accords with the interests of the vast majority of Internet users. This is also to say, while the Internet is virtual, it must nevertheless be an orderly society, and it is necessary to establish a law-abiding mentality for relevant Web sites. . . . this type of data is the same as population census data . . . .