BEIJING A Chinese city planned to censor online
chatroom exchanges and ban anonymous postings after residents
used the Internet to organise a mass protest against a chemical
plant, Chinese media reported on Friday.
Under a new city regulation, online users would have to use
their real names when posting messages on more than 100,000 Web
sites registered in Xiamen, a port city in southeastern coastal
Fujian province, the Beijing Youth Daily said.
"The names registered must be the same as the ones on your
identity card," it quoted an unnamed government official as
saying, adding postings would be screened in advance of being
posted and any unacceptable material would be blocked.
Internet censorship is common in China, where the
government employs an elaborate system of filters and tens of
thousands of human monitors to survey its 140 million Internet
users' surfing habits, surgically clipping sensitive content.
The government had been considering a regulation to require
bloggers to use their real names when they register with Web
logs, but backed down later following protests from the
Internet industry and users.
Last month, thousands of protesters wearing gas masks and
holding banners marched through Xiamen, demanding the
government scrap plans to build a chemical plant some denounced
as an "atomic bomb" threatening the seaside environment.
The citizens had organised the protest and exchanged
information and comments through Web chatrooms, blogs and
mobile text messages.
"After the protest against the project, the government
thinks it should control the contents of the Internet," the
official was quoted as saying.
"Those who illegally spread harmful or bad information will
be detained or fined," the newspaper said, citing the planned
The Chinese government, obsessed with stability, has said
Internet censorship is necessary to allow users to enjoy a
"healthy" online environment and help build a "harmonious"