From Technology Review…
BEIJING (AP) — New rules by a Chinese government-backed Internet group maintain strict controls over the country’s bloggers, requiring them to register with their real names and identification cards.
The guidelines from the Internet Society of China, a group made up of China’s major Internet companies, contradict state media reports this week claiming that China was considering loosening registration requirements for bloggers to allow anonymous online journaling.
The society’s new draft code of conduct seen on its Web site Wednesday says Web log service providers must still get their users’ real names and contact information.
Critics say the requirement violates a blogger’s right to freedom of expression and puts them at risk of punishment or imprisonment if they post controversial opinions about politics, religion or other issues.
The society’s proposed code of conduct for blog service providers comes in addition to already existing government regulations that govern China’s Internet. The country’s official Internet watchdog banned anonymous Web site and blog registration in 2005.
Online bulletin boards and blogs are the only forum for most Chinese to express opinions before a large audience in a society where all media are state-controlled.
China has the world’s second-biggest population of Internet users after the United States, with 137 million people online. It also has some 20 million blogs, according to government figures…