Date
23 August 2017
China has taken another step in tightening its control over online activity. Photo: Bloomberg
China has taken another step in tightening its control over online activity. Photo: Bloomberg

China issues new rules on cyber account names, user identities

China’s cyberspace regulator on Wednesday issued new rules related to internet account user names and personal identity disclosures in a bid to get a tighter grip on online activity in the country.

Under the rules announced by the Cyberspace Administration of China, all users of Weibo, blog, social network services, instant messaging tools like WeChat, QQ and Skype, as well as Baidu Post Bar and online forums must register with their real names. 

Also, internet account names that are deemed inappropriate or mischievous are prohibited, Apple Daily reported.

Cyber accounts that do not comply with the new rules will be asked to change their names, and could be suspended or shut down. The same rules also apply to account profile images and descriptions.

In addition, the rules forbid netizens and social network services users from publishing views that undermine ethnic unity or break religious policies, and those which deliberately spread rumors, disrupt social stability, disseminate obscenity or sexually suggestive materials.

The rules will take effect on March 1.

Meanwhile, the Supreme People’s Court on the same day released judicial interpretation saying that online speeches, mobile phone short messages and other information stored in cyberspace can be used as evidence in courts, according to the report.

The move will not only tighten controls on online speech, but will also complete the legal groundwork for laying charges on people who are deemed to have dissenting views, observers say.

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KZ/AC/RC

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