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China’s New Internet Regulation Requires Real-Name Registration

China’s legislature has approved new rules that will tighten government control of the Internet by requiring users to register with their real names and demanding that Internet companies censor online material. The measures were approved on December 28, 2012, at the closing meeting of a five-day session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

The government said that the latest regulation is aimed at protecting Web surfers’ personal information and cracking down on abuses such as junk email. The rules have the same legal effect as a law.

China’s government agencies and official media also expressed their support to strengthen regulations of websites and microblogs.

Analysts believe that the Internet has played a major role in exposing official corruption, causing some of those in power to experience “web-phobia.” This is an important reason behind the renewed campaign to control the Internet. Recently, Chinese Internet users, through web searches and web postings, have broken the news about a large number of corruption suspects among Chinese Communist Party officials, resulting in many officials being sacked.

Source: BBC Chinese, December 28, 2012