Thursday, April 22, 2021

China Passes Tougher Internet Rules

On Friday, China’s parliament passed new rules that further restrict Internet access in the country. The new restrictions require everyone accessing the Internet to use their real names, and they require service providers to delete “illegal information” posted on the Web.

Keith Bradsher with The New York Times reported, “The Chinese government issued new rules on Friday requiring Internet users to provide their real names to service providers, while assigning Internet companies greater responsibility for deleting forbidden postings and reporting them to the authorities. The decision came as government censors have sharply stepped up restrictions on China’s international Internet traffic in recent weeks. The restrictions are making it harder for businesses to protect commercial secrets and for individuals to view overseas Web sites that the Chinese Communist Party deems politically sensitive.”

According to Reuters, “The rules signal that the new leadership headed by Communist Party chief Xi Jinping will continue muzzling the often scathing, raucous online chatter in a country where the Internet offers a rare opportunity for debate.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Carlos Tejada observed, “The biggest impact of the rules could be on social media providers such as Sina Corp., which runs the popular Twitter-like Weibo microblogging service. Sina officials didn’t respond to requests for comment Friday. Sina and other social media companies saw their shares drop Monday, when the proposed rules were unveiled. In its third-quarter results announcement, Sina said it had more than 400 million registered accounts.”

Kate Woodsome with Voice of America noted, “Human rights and free speech advocates say real-name registration will curtail people’s ability to report, often anonymously, corruption and official abuses.”

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