The Chinese Parliament has approved strict Internet usage rules under the disguise of "safeguarding public interests."
A 12-article package of measures, which has the same legal effect as a law, was adopted on Friday at the concluding session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
It includes an "identity management policy" requiring Internet users to identify their real names to service providers, including Internet or telecommunications operators, while allowing them to use other names when posting material publicly.
"Network service providers will ask users to provide genuine identification information when signing agreements to grant them access to the Internet, fixed-line telephone or mobile devices or to allow users to post information publicly," says Xinhua.
The law says Network service providers will protect digital information that could be used to determine the identity of a user or that concerns a user's privacy.
While the government says the policy is aimed at "strengthening the protection of personal information online," critics see it as a move to limit Internet freedom, as the Communist regime fears campaign through the Internet and social media will prop up mass protests.
"Service providers are required to instantly stop the transmission of illegal information once it is spotted and take relevant measures, including removing the information and saving records, before reporting to supervisory authorities." The Xinhua report does not provide a definition of what an "illegal information" is.
China is one of the countries that strictly enforce Internet censorship by monitoring international Internet content and blacking out sensitive stories that is notoriously known as the Great Firewall of China.
by RTT Staff Writer
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