With rumours spreading online that bloggers will be required to
use their real names, the Internet Society of China (ISC) has
clarified that so far the Ministry of Information Industry has not
made any policies on the matter.
However, a real name system will become unavoidable if China wants
to standardize and develop the blogging industry, Huang Chengqing,
ISC secretary-general, said on Sunday.
An official with the ISC confirmed on Thursday that the society
is working on a real name system for Chinese bloggers, sparking
debate throughout the nation's online communities.
Huang said some Internet reports about the implementation of the
real name system had not been "very accurate."
The ISC, affiliated to the Ministry of Information Industry, has
been directed to form a blog research panel to provide solutions
for the development of the blogging industry.
"We suggest, in a recent report submitted to the ministry, that
a real name system be implemented for China's blogging industry,"
Under such a system, netizens would have to register with their
real names to open a blog, but would still be able to write under a
pseudonym, according to Huang.
Yet the panel also pointed out in their report that a lot of
preparatory work must be done before a real name system could go
"For example, a complete personal data protection system should
be established in advance," Huang said, adding that the system
would not be introduced before netizens had had their say on
Online opinion of the proposed system is divided.
Some say the real name system could water down freedom of speech
and even threaten bloggers' privacy. Meanwhile, another opinion is
that a real name system could help tackle online con artists,
pornography and IPO infringements.
Other bloggers have been accused of disseminating false
information via the Internet, damaging reputations and society as a
In August, 2006, associate professor Chen Tangfa from Nanjing
University won a lawsuit against a blog company.
The company was found guilty of failing to properly deal with
insulting online comments about him, which had been spread by an
Huang said the real name system was an equilibrium between
freedom and responsibility. "There can be no freedom without self
control, and limiting people to using their own names will also
benefit the further development of the industry."
He said the system the ISC recommended was a background real
name system, which required bloggers to provide their real names
and other real information when applying for a blog, but allowed
them to use pseudonyms in their blog articles.
According to an ISC survey, about half of a China's netizens
support the real name system.
(Xinhua News Agency October 24, 2006)