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by Mike Zazaian October 23, 2006 - 7:21pm, 6 Comments

The Chinese Parliament in session

Just days after outlawing the practice of spreading “negative rumors” online, the Chinese government seeks to extend control over its online community by forcing bloggers to register blogs with their real names.

While bloggers would be allowed to publish under an online pseudonym, the government would require registration for each blog using the blogger’s official name. The aim of the proposition is to exert greater control over bloggers who publish irresponsible and untrue information, according to Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency.

And while the government has expressed interest in implementing this system, it’s still far from being written into law. The Internet Society of China (ISC), which will be responsible for developing the proposed system, says that no proposals have yet been finalized. In fact the ISC might open up discussion over the topic up to the bloggers themselves in order to get responses from those would be most affected by the system. The proposition comes just days after the Chinese municipality of Chongqing made it punishable by law to, [Spread] defamatory comments or remarks, launch personal attacks, or seek to damage reputations online.

Despite the effect that the proposed real name system could have on the country, the whole matter could prove moot considering the lengths to which the Chinese government has gone to silence controversial bloggers already. According to an article from Human Rights Watch:

The Chinese government and Communist party officials have moved aggressively to shut down websites, blogs, and other electronic forums that discuss what the government considers sensitive topics, using a sophisticated network of human and technological controls. Journalists, bloggers, webmasters, writers, and editors who sent news out of China or who even debated among themselves about Tibet, Taiwan, and human rights, among other subjects, have faced punishments ranging from sudden unemployment to long prison terms.

Read ars technica