BEIJING China is to back down from a plan to
require bloggers to use their real names when they register Web
logs, following an outcry over the proposal from the Internet
industry, official media reported on Tuesday.
Instead, the government would promote a 'self-discipline
code' that would encourage, but not mandate, bloggers to
register under their own names, the report said, citing draft
guidelines published by the Internet Society of China.
"The ISC, with the backing of the Ministry of Information
Industry, is trying to rally industry players to sign up to the
self-discipline code for the promotion of a less rigorous
real-name system," state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
China, the world's second-largest Web market with some 140
million Internet users, has already imposed some controls.
The 'real-name' blog proposal was seen as another attempt
to regulate free-wheeling Web content, but it triggered
protests from the Internet industry and users, Xinhua said.
Some government departments had advocated the use of real
names as a way to stop slander, pornography and the spread of
what the ruling Communist Party sees as "harmful information."
China already routinely blocks Web sites for political
content that runs counter to the government's views, and
restricts participation in some on-line discussion groups.
It also imposes controls on Internet chatter about
politically sensitive subjects, although postings on the
country's more than 20 million blogs often go far beyond what
is permissible in traditional state-run media.