State Council Information Office: Real Name Registration to Be Required for All Domestic News Sites

rivercrabflagThe following article was published by the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao, translated by CDT.

The Information Office of the State Council recently issued a notice requiring all domestic news websites to implement a real-name registration system; Netizens must take social responsibility for their own online speech.

According to an official in Nanjing, the Information Office of the State Council issued a notice on July 27, 2009 requiring domestic news websites to change the current function allowing netizens to anonymously comment on news articles or to post. All netizens will now be required to register with their real names before they can log in to publish any comments. Netizens will need to fill out their real name and identification number, and after validation they can log into the news website to make comments on news events. When netizens post information or participate in discussions, news websites must remind netizens that the contents need to be reviewed before being published. Netizens need to take social responsibility for their own online speech. In the meantime, all news websites are no longer allowed to set up voting by netizens or online surveys about news events.

The notice said, the above new regulation will be incorporated into the annual review standards for news websites. Currently the regulations only apply to news websites; online forums are temporarily not under this restriction. The implementation timetable and other details of the new regulations are not yet clear.

The official said that the government’s current management system for Internet media is falling far behind the development of Internet media. The Internet has already become a tool of some groups in organizing and planning their activities. And the credibility of the government is in serious crisis. Therefore, strengthening of the Internet real name registration system is a must. There have been international precedents to implementing such a system; for example, the South Korea Information Ministry requires all websites to implement a real name system in which netizens’ identity must be validated before they can publish information online.

Meanwhile, Chinese netizens continue to express their views of government censorship efforts. Below are several such comments, translated from Chinese tweets:

Twitters commenting on the closure last month of three main Netease channels: history, finance and technology:

* First they came for my technology, and I did not speak out–
because I still had wealth;
Then they came for my finance, and I did not speak out–
because I still had my memory;
Then they came for my history–
and I couldn’t speak out because I had nothing left.

* It’s been said that Netease will rename itself NetHard.

* History has told us, lies can be exposed by screenshots.

* The main melody is the master’s melody. How can the master’s melody tell us truth or facts?

* The brighter the news in the newspapers, the darker the real society is. The cleanest news is in the Party’s papers; therefore the Party is the dirtiest.

* The essence of Web 2.0 is to mobilize the people. But not everyone has permission to mobilize people. The Party can do it. But if you do it, it is called incitement.

* The truth is, the current CCP is most afraid of the CCP before [the revolution].