The first reason to withdraw “Beijing Municipal Regulations Concerning the Development and Control of Microblogs” : This regulation states that it is made “according to the Telecommunications Statute of the People’s Republic of China, the Administration of Internet Information Services Measures and other laws, regulations and statutes, but among these none are actually laws. The Telecommunications Statute and Administration of Internet Information Services Measures came about in September 2000, and at the time microblogs did not exist. Nor do these [measures] deal in any way with real-name registration. They cannot be regarded as a legal basis for managing microblogs.

The second reason to withdraw “Beijing Municipal Regulations Concerning the Development and Control of Microblogs” : On June 20, 2008, President Hu Jintao gave a special speech at People’s Daily in which he reaffirmed the people’s right to know (知情权), right to participate (参与权), right to express (表达权) and right to monitor (监督权). He pointed out that the internet “has already become a collection and distribution center for ideas, culture and information and an amplifier for public opinion.” The timing of this speech makes it of more real relevance than the the Telecommunications Statute of the People’s Republic of China and the Administration of Internet Information Services Measures.

The third reason to withdraw “Beijing Municipal Regulations Concerning the Development and Control of Microblogs” : The forefather of socialism, Marx, once incisively pointed out that anonymity of expression in the media is a form of public opinion transmission in society. He said: “”As long as the newspaper press was anonymous, it appeared as the organ of a numberless and nameless public opinion; it was the third power in the state.” The authorities in Beijing should review the radiant ideas of Marx. [On Marx and Engels publishing anonymously].

[NOTE: Thanks to Joshua Rosenzweig for providing the orthodox translation of the above passage from Marx.]

The fourth reason to withdraw “Beijing Municipal Regulations Concerning the Development and Control of Microblogs” : The lesson of previous failures. [The official] China News Service reported on August 11 that a prominent South Korean internet portal site was attacked by hackers who stole the personal information of 35 million users, including un-encripted user names, users real names, phone numbers, passwords and security questions for their e-mail accounts, identification numbers, etcetera. In order to mitigate against the illegal collection of personal information, the South Korean government has decided to abolish the country’s real-name internet registration system in stages.

This article was compiled from a series of posts Professor Zhan Jiang made to his Sina Weibo account on December 17, 2011.