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Restrictions on Internet Use Toughened in China

New rules were issued by the government of China on Friday that requires users of the Internet to provide their true identity to their service providers. The new rules also assign greater responsibility to Internet companies for deleting postings that are forbidden and then reporting those same postings to authorities.

The decision by the government came as its censors have stepped up Internet restrictions sharply on China’s international web traffic over recent weeks. It is being made harder, due to the restrictions, for businesses to protect their commercial secrets and for individual users to see websites from overseas that have been deemed politically sensitive by the Communist Party.

The latest regulations, which were issued on Friday by the National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee, allow users of the Internet to continue to use pseudonyms for posting online, but only if they had previously provided their actual names to the service providers.

This measure might chill down some of the critical comments on the Twitter-like blogs in the country. Periodically authorities detain and have even jailed users of Internet for their comments that have been deemed politically sensitive. Comments have ranged from allegations of corruption by local authorities to saying the country needs a multiparty democracy.

Any company that provides access to the Internet, including over a mobile or fixed line, should when agreements are being signed or confirming services, demand that true information is provided by users about their personal identities, the measure from the Standing Committee read.

Over the past few weeks, users of the Internet in China have exposed a number of financial and sexual scandals that led to dismissals and resignations of 10 officials or more.

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