Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why China Relaxed Blogger Crackdown

Jason Leow writes in The Wall Street Journal:

The Chinese government, which spent months mulling over ways to crack down on bloggers, is retreating from its campaign, a development that illustrates the difficulty China faces as it tries to control technology.

Since September, the central government has been deliberating the need to enforce a real-name registration system, which would have required nearly 20 million Chinese bloggers to register their real identities on the Web and give up the anonymity many have gotten used to, even though bloggers can never be entirely anonymous as they can be traced back to an IP address.

The Chinese government, which sees the online world as a conduit for slander, pornography and antigovernment views, believes the real-name system would force the Internet community to watch their words and actions. But the policy received sharp protests from the technology industry.

Now, the Ministry of Information Industry, the agency responsible for the policy, has abandoned plans for a law requiring all Chinese blog service providers to ask their users for verifiable personal details before they can start blogging.

Instead, the government is going for the soft approach.

More here.


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