July 31, 2014 17:34 UTC

Science in the News

Internet Users in China Must Use Real Names

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

China Internet Controls
China Internet Controls

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report in Special English.
 
China has new rules that require people to use their real names when registering for Internet service. The rules also require Internet companies operating in China to remove material said to be objectionable.
 
Chinese lawmakers approved the measures on December 28th, at the end of a five-day meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
 
The new rules say network service providers must “strengthen management of information released by users.” The providers have been ordered to stop the spread of illegal information after its discovery, and take steps to deal with the problem. The Xinhua news agency says those steps include removing the information from the Internet and then reporting it to the government.
 
Chinese officials say the rules are aimed at protecting the personal information of Internet users and stopping abuses such as junk e-mail. However, critics say real-name registration will make individuals less likely to report corruption and official abuses for fear of possible action against them.
 
Duncan Clark is an adviser to Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. He lives in Beijing. Mr. Clark says China seems to be seeking a balance between information control and government accountability.
 
“We’ve seen for a long time the Internet being used to expose corruption, but what’s been interesting in the recent few weeks, which is maybe a sort of counter current to these new crackdowns on the Internet, is that a lot of this has been followed up.”
 
Mr. Clark says reports of sexual or financial wrongdoing have led to the ouster of several government officials.
 
“We’ve seen a top down anti-corruption drive and so where previously we may have seen campaigns running for a couple of months, now we’ve seen within days, certain officials losing their posts and this is all driven by and fueled by the Internet. ”
 
The new Internet regulations come at the same time as a Chinese government campaign against virtual private networks, or VPNs. Web users use VPNs to get around what has been called China’s “Great Firewall.” But some reports say the government is increasing its effort to block VPNs.
 
Mr. Clark says there is often an increase in Internet censorship during sensitive events. He noted the recent 18th Communist Party Congress, which elected China’s new leaders. He said these periods of increased control are normally followed by reduced enforcement.
 
“We haven’t seen that in this case, since the Party Congress we see increased measures, not lessened. So the big question I would say, is when we get to the spring, when the new leadership takes up their formal positions in the government, is this like the new normal?”
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Flavio from: Brazil
01/10/2013 8:47 PM
Thanks God, I'm fortunate not a chinese.

In Response

by: Hades from: korea
01/15/2013 10:27 AM
You're right.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
01/09/2013 11:31 AM
Now, I thnik, It is a time for Chinese internet providers to show their own policy and belief. I hope they have a enough courage to permit users to uproad items anonymously. If they obey government's orders, it means they let go of their own identiies. Mass media should play a role to get and protect citizen's freedome of the speech in pubric.


by: Hiroki from: Chiba,Japan
01/08/2013 3:20 PM
As reading this article I found it necessary to pay attention to what the new leadership would do in regard to information control because there had just been the transition of power.Whether the government would choose to strengthen Internet censorship or to do an enlightened approach matters to other countries as well as Chinese people.


by: Jackie from: China
01/08/2013 3:19 PM
I hate real-name registration.


by: BIJU.P.Y from: SOUTH INDIA
01/08/2013 1:09 PM
Each govt. is bound to protect its citizens' as well as the nation's integrity. Chinese govt's new laws are to be taken into account in this sense. But over restriction and untouchable attitude is not fair. Any restrictions to free knowldege is not desirable to a civilized society. The world is on the outlook for their new developments. Thank you.


by: Anonymous
01/08/2013 2:08 AM
In China,corruption is ubiquitous.Officials are greedy and hundary for money and power and women. How disgusting they are.Civilians can do nothing but reveal those crimes on Internet.But what can we do later?


by: Alex from: Rus
01/07/2013 5:09 PM
Thanks!

Learn with The News

Featured Stories

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs