Friday, October 20, 2006

Bloggers in China May be Requested to Reveal Real ID

Young bloggers at a blogger conference in 2005

The Chinese government has asked Internet Society of China, a non-governmental orgnization, to discuss the possibility and related issues of a new regulation requiring bloggers to use their real names and ID information to register for blogs, an official from the society said on Thursday.

The society held a meeting earlier this month, where experts from internet industry, law and government discussed issues like what kind of ID information should be requested, how to make sure the information are accurate and the timeline for the new regulation to take effect, according to a report on the organization’s website. No details of the discussion were revealed.

People who support such a regulation said it could prevent bloggers from publishing vicious comments, such as defamation and insult toward other people, which has occurred in the world of Chinese blog. Other people, especially those from the internet industry, voiced their concerns that the regulation could discourage people to blog and was against the open and free nature of the internet.

Other issues, such as protection of personal information and information verification, could also nullify the initiative, experts said.

Weblog started to gain popularity among Chinese people in 2002, and so far, there have been more than 33 million blogs registered in China, with more than 17 million bloggers, according to a report by China Internet Network Information Center. Like in most places around the world, Chinese bloggers have been blogging without revealing their real identity, and that is also one opportunity for some dissent voices to be heard.

----by Josie Liu

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