China Chills On Blogger Registration

    May 23, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

A surprising turn of events could mean the Chinese government will not require bloggers to provide their real names to a central registry.

The potential for damaging the rapidly growing Internet industry may have influenced Beijing into backing off a long-desired plan to match bloggers’ online identities with the real people behind them.

People’s Daily Online said prominent Internet companies complained about the registration requirement, one that the central government has long coveted. Instead of a compulsory registration, bloggers will be encouraged to place their names on that list.

Such registration would be a persistent reminder to bloggers that publishing content deemed harmful could get them into deep trouble. It wouldn’t be outright censorship, but a subtle scheme that would make bloggers censor themselves.

Internet businesses of influence in China opposed the registration requirement. Chief executives from both and denounced it in the report. They cited the costs involved with verifying identities, and the ability for bloggers to simply open blogs outside the country, as reasons to back away from the plan.