Capping weeks of government grumbling in China over “healthy internet culture,” the need to trumpet “social core values” online and combat “poisonous rumors,” China has today announced new regulations — taking effect immediately — to control the country’s rapidly-growing Twitter-like micro-blogosphere. Among other stipulations, the regulations require all users to register with their real names in order to use microblog services, and those who fail to register within three months will be unable to make posts (if we take these regulations at face value). While the regulations nominally come from the Beijing municipal government, they will no doubt impact users across the country, as the vast majority of services are based in the city. It is not immediately clear whether QQ Weibo, a leading microblogging platform operated by Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings, would be subject to these regulations.
There is, in short, a great deal left to clarify about these regulations. We’ll keep our eyes glued to them in coming days and weeks to work out as best we can what exactly they mean for internet companies and users in China.
The following is a video of CCTV coverage today of the new regulations, followed by our translation of some of today’s coverage in Chinese summarizing the regulations.
“Beijing Introduces Weibo Development and Control [Management] Regulation“
Sina.com (via Qianlong)
December 16, 2011
In recent years, new internet technologies, of which microblog services are the most representative, have developed rapidly [in China]. Microblogs have served a positive role in reflecting public opinion, assembling popular knowledge, disseminating information, serving society and other areas. However, in the process of microblog development, the dissemination of rumors and fake information has also emerged, along with other salient problems such as the sale of “fans” and the use of the web to deceive others, damaging the public interest and harming the people generally. This has met with the objection of websites, users and the public, and various parts of society have called fiercely for the regulation of microblog services.
Beijing is a priority area for the development of microblogs, and in order to further regulate the orderly transmission of microblogs and promote the healthy development of the internet and new media — on the basis of broad investigation and research, listening to opinions from various sides, and according to relevant national laws, regulations and statutes — the municipal office of the people’s city government, the municipal public security bureau, the Beijing Communications Administration and the Beijing Internet Information Office have jointly studied and formulated “Beijing Municipal Regulations Concerning the Development and Control of Microblogs” (《北京市微博客发展管理若干规定》), for release and to formally take effect on December 16, 2011.
The “Regulation,” made under the general principles of “scientific development, positive use, enhanced management [or control] and ensured security,” accords with the “Telecommunications Statute of the People’s Republic of China” and the “Administration of Internet Information Services Measures” and other laws, regulations and statutes. [The “Regulation”] accords with concrete conditions in Beijing, and makes 16 stipulations concerning the set-up, use and management of microblogs, including objectives, scope of application, principles of development, a program for examination and approval, standards for conduct, microblog user account registration, the examination and verification of content, the responsibilities of government agencies, industry self-discipline, social supervision (社会监督), legal obligations and other content. The “Decision” clearly states the need to strengthen the construction and application of microblogs, ensuring that microblogs exert a positive effect in serving society. In providing microblog services, websites must adhere to honesty (诚信办网) and decency (文明办网) in providing web services, actively disseminating the socialist core value system, disseminating advanced socialist culture, and serve the building of a harmonious socialist society.
The “Regulation” makes clear stipulations concerning registration procedures and admittance requirements for websites within the jurisdiction of this municipality carrying out microblog services, establishing that they must, on the basis of raising the need to create an adequate and comprehensive information security management system (信息安全管理制度), clarifying the personnel and supervisory institutions responsible for information security, implementing technical measures for security and control (技术安全防控措施), establishing a system for the securing of user information, and establishing a system for exposing fake information and other requirements, make application and go through examination and approval with municipal internet and information authorities in accordance with the law.