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More Chinese cities require real-name microblog registration


16:30, December 22, 2011

GUANGZHOU, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- More Chinese cities joined an Internet supervision measure Thursday following Beijing's requirement of local microblog operators to register users with real names, a move designed to purge online rumors and enhance social credibility.

Seven major websites in the cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen in south Guangdong province will begin from Thursday to require new users of their microblogging services to register with real names, the provincial publicity department said in a statement.

Among the seven microblog operators is Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings, the country's leading Internet company that operates the popular QQ instant-messaging service.

The new rules only apply to new users, including private and institutional users, who are required to submit their real identities at registration, the statement said.

However, users can choose to use their real or screen names on the webpage, according to the statement.

The new rules are made "in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations" in a bid to "foster healthy Internet culture" and "strengthen management and guide social networking services (SNS) and instant-messaging tools," according to the statement.

Guangdong's real-name requirement came shortly after Beijing announced new rules last Friday, requiring users of microblogging services in the city to provide their true identities at registration.

Experts claim the new rules will purify the Internet environment, as fake and fraudulent information is often seen spreading through microblogs, which are gaining popularity among users.

According to statistics released by the China Internet Network Information Center earlier this year, China had 63 million microbloggers at the end of 2010, accounting for 13.8 percent of its 457 million Internet users.

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