China bloggers may have to register under real names

The Internet Society of China has recommended to the government that bloggers be required to use their real names when they register blogs, state media quoted by Reuters said, in the latest attempt to regulate free-wheeling Web content.

The society, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Information Industry, said no decision had been made but that a "real name system" was inevitable, the Reuters report said.

'A real name system will be an unavoidable choice if China wants to standardize and develop its blog industry,' the official Xinhua news agency quoted the Internet Society's secretary general, Huang Chengqing, as saying.

'We suggest, in a recent report submitted to the ministry, that a real name system be implemented in China's blog industry,' Huang said.

According to the report, China had already imposed some controls on Internet chatter about politically sensitive subjects, which often went far beyond what was allowed in the country's traditional state-run media.

Last year, the Ministry of Information Industry issued regulations on Internet news content that analysts said was aimed at extending rules governing licensed news outlets to blogs and Internet-only news sites, the report said.

Participation in university on-line discussion groups had also been restricted to students, the report added.

Bloggers anonymously spreading false information on the Internet brought about a negative influence on society, the Xinhua report said.

Under the proposed rule, users would be required to register under their real names to open a blog but would still be allowed to write under pseudonyms, the report said.