Real Names Required for Microblogging in China

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Microblogging online – on social media sites such as Twitter – is exceptionally popular across the world.  Nevertheless, not all countries are keen on people using such services.  One famous example of this is China.

While Twitter is banned in China, there are other microblogging services in the country that the Chinese people use.  However, the Chinese government appears dissatisfied with the fact that people can criticise them openly online.  More people are joining these microblogging sites – called weibo in China – every single day.  This has led to the government trying to find ways to stop the increasing tide of criticism against them.

The latest effort has seen them launch a trial run of real name registrations in five cities across the country.  This means that if someone wishes to sign up to use a weibo service, the person must supply his or her real name.  Without this information, they cannot use the service.

It also means that the government can track people who post derogatory or negative comments about them.  It is just one more step in China’s battle to control the internet – a battle that many Chinese people disagree with.

Many of us take freedom of speech for granted.  However, as this story reveals, freedom of speech is not a regular part of life in China.  Many people have already used these services to voice their discontent over the actions of the government.  While the Chinese government sees this move as a good thing, many people think exactly the opposite.


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