China’s real-name registration policy for micro-bloggers raises two questions for me. A step too far to dissuade libel and verbal abuse? Another brick in the Great Firewall? It looks like the Chinese public sphere 2.0 is about to be imposed a rather niggling leash.
On the more worrying side, Dr. Yao Zhengyu, associate professor of the Media and Communication Department at City University of Hong Kong ponders on the legitimacy of having private corporations manage and own these real name identities.
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Real Name Registration for Micro-bloggers in China
Source – China Radio International, published March 16, 2012
People in China now have to sign in with their real names and personal information if they want to tweet through their beloved Weibo services or micro-blogs, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. The move is reportedly designed to dissuade libel, verbal abuse and other activities deemed detrimental to individuals’ legitimate rights. However, the new policy has also raised questions as to whether the real-name registration system might infringe upon people’s freedom of expression. Analysts believe that China’s major Weibo operators, such as Sina.com, are unlikely to experience a plunge in user growth, as they have already established themselves as the market’s main service providers.
So how will the real-name registration system change people’s micro-blogging behavior? And how can we strike a balance between Internet freedom and Internet regulation?
Ni hao, you’re listening to People In the Know, bringing you insights into the headline news in China and around the world. I’m Zheng Chenguang in Beijing. In this edition of the program, we are taking a look at the real-name registration system for China’s micro-blog sphere.
We talk to Dr. Yao Zhengyu, associate professor of the Media and Communication Department at City University of Hong Kong and Tian Zhihui, professor and deputy dean of the graduate school at the Communication University of China.