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China cracks down on web anonymity with new regulations

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Rule requires internet users to register their real names before uploading videos

china / chinese flag (STOCK)
china / chinese flag (STOCK)

The Chinese government this week passed a new rule requiring all internet users to use their real names when uploading videos to the web, as part of an attempt to crack down on online dissent. As Reuters reports, the rule was implemented on Monday, more than a year after the Communist Party began circulating a draft on a sweeping new online "identity management" policy.

In a notice published Monday, China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said the rule is intended to "prevent vulgar content, base art forms, exaggerated violence and sexual content in Internet video having a negative effect on society." The move is the latest in a series of laws requiring consumers to register their real names on microblogging websites and with mobile service providers, though the rules have proven difficult to enforce.

Identity laws have proven difficult to enforce

Beijing has looked to seize greater control over online discourse over the past year, following a spate of embarrassing political scandals. In September, the Communist Party passed strict new anti-defamation laws designed to stem the spread of rumors and misinformation on social media sites like Sina Weibo, raising serious concerns among free speech advocates.

Youku Tudou and Renren are among the most popular video sites in China, and many have used them to upload content that is critical of Communist Party policies. Neither Youku Tudou nor Renren immediately responded to inquiries from The Verge.