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China Forms a New Team to Regulate Internet Blogs
The Ministry of Information Industry recently committed itself to a new mission in public censorship. It has charged the Internet Society of China with the task of establishing a team to study the administration of Internet blogs, according to a repor by 21st Century Economy News published on Thursday.
The team consists of representatives from thirteen major websites and five other experts on law and I.T. in China. Last week the team held a discussion on the potential regulation of blogs whereby users would be forced to register with their real names. The discussion also covered the issues of the real-name registration, bloggers rights and obligations, the registration of personal information, and the potential problems of real-name registration. They concluded with a potential timetable for carrying out the regulations.
An editor for the Qianlong News website (news.QianLong.com)'s blog channel was reported as saying that the netizens are probably required to register with their real name, I.D., and telephone number when they open a new blog account. The authorities have pushed to have the new regulations passed by claiming they protect people's rights and privacy. It was pointed out, however, that the actual details of the policy are still waiting for approval by the Ministry of Information Industry
An Internet rights defender by the name of Huangqi argues that the large numbers of Netizens posting articles on blogs which criticize the social conflicts in China has prompted the authorities to try and squelch the dissidents' voices through the new regulations. He also pointed out that the regulation of blogs through a name registration act is against the freedom of the Internet. As such, it not only becomes a joke throughout the international society, but more importantly it is evidence of the increasing number of Internet filtering policies that the Chinese authorities have been implementing.
According to statistics researched by the China Internet Network Information Center, there are more than 17,500,000 Chinese blog writers who have composed at least 33,700,000 articles. Readership is even higher with 75,000,000 as of August 2006. It is important to note that those netizens who have set up their Chinese blogs through the free servers outside of China are not counted in these statistics.