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China's main blog service providers subscribe to self-discipline code
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09:03, August 22, 2007

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More than ten major Chinese blog service providers have agreed to sign the "self-discipline code for blog services" drawn up by the Internet Society of China (ISC).

"We have amended the draft code eight times in the past six months, hearing suggestions from Internet users, experts, blog service providers and lawyers," said Huang Chengqing, secretary general of the society under the Ministry of Information Industry.

Real-name registration is only to be "encouraged" instead of being made compulsory, originally the intention of the government until it met with fierce opposition. Blog service providers are required to ensure security and confidentiality of information that bloggers prefer to keep secret, according to the code.

"Conditions are not yet mature for implementing real-name registration as we lack reliable technology for privacy protection and identity verification," Huang said.

He said bloggers and service providers would be able to choose whether or not to implement the real-name registration in the future.

"Blog service providers who allow the use of pseudonyms may be more attractive to bloggers, but they will be punished by the government if they fail to screen illegal information. This will add to their operating costs," Huang said.

Famous domestic blog service providers including People's Daily Online, Sohu.com, Sina.com.cn and cn.msn.com all said they would observe the code which was drafted by a group of blog providers and industry experts in October 2006.

China had more than 30 million registered bloggers by the end of June this year, and more than 100 million Chinese Internet users visit blogs regularly, according to the ISC.

Government officials have accused some blogs of spreading unhealthy and defamatory information.

"A company can grow only when the entire industry sees healthy development," said Guo Kaitian, vice president of blog provider Tencent Inc. "We would like to help create a sound environment for the country's blog service development," he added.

Source: Xinhua

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