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Beijing clamps down on micro bloggers

Another brick in the Great Firewall of China
Fri Mar 16 2012, 10:50

THE GLORIOUS Chinese government is bearing down on the nation's micro bloggers.

From today, users in China's capital Beijing of the popular Weibo - literally translated as microblog - service will be required to register their real identities.

Those microbloggers who ignore the new rules will face unspecified legal consequences. The Communist Party officials behind the move argue that the clampdown is necessary to prevent anonymous web users from spreading propaganda and unsavoury content such as porn.

However, Reuters quotes Weibo users who say that the move to muzzle bloggers amounts to just another example of restrictive state censorship. "Definitely, I will not use Weibo if they need real names," said Wang Yong, a 27-year-old government employee who told Reuters he loved being able to post his thoughts anonymously. "I don't want to be supervised because of my words."

Weibo is run by a group of companies, the largest of which is Sina. According to the news agency report, by midday on Friday just 19 million out of an estimated 300 million users of Sina had registered their identities, and several microbloggers were quoted as saying they would not sign up. "I'm sure I will not use it any longer," said Sheng Hui, a 28-year-old employee at a foreign bank. "Weibo, for me, is just a tool to blow off my anger and pressure. I won't be able to shout abuse in future."

Beijing's move comes after a loophole in the Great Firewall of China briefly allowed people in the country to comment on US President Obama's Google+ page. µ


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