Shanghai to require real-name weibo service

Xinhua, December 26, 2011

Shanghai is going to require real-name tweeting registration on Monday, following similar moves adopted by other big cities such as Beijing and Guangzhou, municipal authorities said Sunday.

The new rules currently apply to new users, including private and corporate users, who are required to submit their real identities upon registration, the municipal authorities said, adding that the rules are expected soon to cover all valid users.

While identities are processed by web administrators for necessary verification, users are still free to pick either their real or screen names on webpages.

The new rules are made, "in line with Chinese laws and regulations," to "foster a healthy Internet culture" and "better manage social networking websites and instant-messaging tools," the municipal authorities said.

Beijing took the lead on December 16 to require municipal tweeting service providers to register users with real names. Guangzhou and Shenzhen followed suit.

According to statistics released by the China Internet Network Information Center earlier this year, China had 63 million tweeting users at the end of 2010, accounting for 13.8 percent of 457 million Internet users.