China may make real-name registration mandatory for all its internet users


Chinese microblogging service Sina Weibo has already made it a requirement that its users register with their real names, and now the Chinese government is considering a similar measure — for the internet itself. According to a report by Xinhua, the country's official press agency, a draft decision has been submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC). It proposes a new "identity management" policy, in which those that go online would need to identify themselves to their services providers, whether mobile or at their home. It also includes a number of provisions aimed at beating back abuse, such as banning the practice of sending business-related information to people's email address or phones without their consent, as well as encouraging the public as a whole to report any illegal activity.

Different online personas would be allowed

The draft decision also allows users to maintain anonymous online identities after having registered with their ISP. "Such identity management could be conducted backstage," said Li Fei, the deputy director of the Standing Committee's Commission for Legislative Affairs, "allowing users to use different names when publicizing information." Still, that doesn't seem like it would address one of the real concerns here. Bloggers in China already use codenames to avoid government censors, and a pseudo-anonymous online identity is worth very little when an ISP knows precisely who a user is thanks to a government mandate. It's not yet clear when or if the new provisions will become official — putting some real restrictions on the country's over 500 million internet users in the process.

Back to top ^
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Verge username and password

As part of the new Verge launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Verge going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Verge username and password

As part of the new Verge launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Verge going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.