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Beijing Enforces Real-Name Registration on the Internet

According to new rules that the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s highest Internet regulator, recently announced, starting on October 1, 2017, only users who have provided their identity information will be able to post online content or comments on the Internet. Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported on August 26 that the new rules aim to prevent the spread of views the state bans or which the law prohibits, that the circulation of such information has to be stopped immediately, and that measures must be taken for its removal.

The CAC website explicitly required that website operators will have to review comments on news stories before they can appear online. At the top of the CAC’s list of harmful information are: endangering national security, revealing state secrets, subverting state power, damaging national honor and interests, undermining national unity, spreading rumors or disrupting the social order.

On August 29, China’s state media Global Times published an article to defend the above provision. The article said, “Without real name authentication, one cannot function on the Internet.” The article also claimed that the vast majority of the people had widely accepted real name certification.

An analysis published at a Shanghai-based news and finance web portal,, expressed the expectation that online promotional activities will be curtailed. In recent years, online public relations companies have hired paid commentators to promote products. Some well-connected public relations companies even offer services to remove web pages that contain negative consumer reviews. CAC’s new regulation prevents commercial operations from generating massive favorable comments or from selectively removing unfavorable comments.

1., August 31, 2017
2. Radio France Internationale, August 26, 2017中国/20170826-大陆网民发表意见十月开始需用实名
4. Cyberspace Administration of China website, August 25, 2017