In China, a vast majority of the internet is blocked or censored, and free speech is severely limited. This year they’ve been hitting VPNs hard, and we’ve covered on the blog already on how they are targeting VPN users in China who value anonymity and unrestricted content.
While we aren’t sure how effective these measures will be long term, we can be certain that anonymity is becoming more and more important as China seeks to jeopardize it by gaining more and more control over its internet users. By controlling the internet, China can effectively control, manipulate, and brainwash its people. So what’s next for China’s internet crusade? Well, real IDs.
The Cyberspace Administration of China now wants to enforce real name registration in order to limit internet users who are surfing the web anonymously. Already, in China, many web services and apps require real name ID verification.
Apps like WeChat, phone number registration, and other online services require ID service verification. However, now, the Chinese government wants to target online forum communities and general online discourse.
The announcement reads something like this:
“For users who have not given identifying information, platforms for and providers of online communities may not allow posting of any kind.”
CAC also requires communities and websites to investigate users who may be using fake names and retain user data for government inspection.
Forums in China are one of the last ways to communicate in China semi-anonymously since real IDs have not been required. Take for example, Tieba, one of the largest online communities in China.
Users on this forum often critique the government and debate nationalist political ideals, and coming October 1st, users will be required to verify their real ID if they want to keep posting and using the forums.
Forbidden topics on the Chinese internet include the following:
- opposing the principles of the constitution of China
- endangering national security, revealing state secrets, subverting state power, and undermining national reunification
- damaging national honor and interests
- inciting national hatred, ethnic discrimination, and undermining national unity
- undermining the state’s policies on religion or promoting cults and feudal superstitions
- spreading rumors or disrupting social order
- spreading obscenity, pornography, violence, or terror, or abetting a crime
- insulting or slandering others and infringing upon the lawful rights and interests of others
- violating any other laws and regulations
Seeing how a vast quantity of online users are trolls who love to insult, slander, or spread rumors, these rules might be difficult to follow and enforce.