The popularity of blogs has garnered attention of another kind: the government is now taking steps to ensure that the sites are under their radar. China’s Ministry of Information Industry (MII) mandated the registration of all websites and web log host sites in the country before the June 30, 2005. Initiated in March, the registration process requires site owners and operators, Internet service providers (ISPs) rather than individual bloggers, to provide their sites’ background information — where they are located and what their sites are about. Failure to register, the Ministry says, will lead to a fine up of to 1,000,000 RMB ($120,000) or shutdown. Unregistered China-based websites will be declared illegal. The ministry reports that 74 percent have already complied with the registration as of Jun. 7.
Beijing freelance journalist Michael Anti, who writes about China’s media issues onAnti-Blog, says he has been able to circumvent the government’s Internet policies. Major IT companies Microsoft and Google currently comply with the nation’s censorship efforts by blocking words that allude to taboo topics, such as “democracy,” “freedom” and “human rights.” Anti has been able to avoid heavy censorship, he says, because he painstakingly avoids sensitive words.