China government proposes new regulations restricting Internet use

[JURIST] The Chinese Ministry of Information and Technology [official website, in Chinese] revealed its proposed changes [text, in Chinese] to Chinese Internet law that seek to limit the ability of users to post anonymous comments on micro-blogs and forums. The law proposes that Internet users be required to register on certain sites using their real identity and that operators of sites be required to obtain licenses, keep records and assist in police investigations when necessary. The stated purpose of the proposed amendments is to promote national security and to encourage responsibility among Internet users and site operators. Chinese citizens have been invited to share comments [public notice, in Chinese] on the proposals until July 6.

China has faced criticism for its policy of strict Internet regulation. In 2010, the State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China released a position paper [JURIST report] on the country's human rights record, claiming that it has heightened Internet freedoms and improved civil and political rights. In July of that year, Chinese Internet regulators planned to drastically reduce Internet anonymity [JURIST report] by requiring users to use their real names when posting on certain Chinese websites, according to Human Rights in China (HRIC) [advocacy website]. HRIC's revelation came on the heels of a June announcement that Google would continue to operate its google.cn Internet search engine in mainland China, ending a four-month period during which the site simply redirected to the uncensored google.hk [search websites; JURIST report] after the company threatened in January to pull out of China entirely [JURIST report]. Earlier that month, the Chinese government defended [JURIST report] its Internet censorship laws in a report on Internet usage in the country.

 

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