China backs off on real-name registration for bloggers

China, often criticized for jailing journalists who speak out against government policies, has bowed to pressure from the outside world. It is backing off from a requirement that bloggers use their real names when they register blogs, reports Reuters.

China, often criticized for jailing journalists who speak out against government policies, has bowed to pressure from the outside world. It is backing off from a requirement that bloggers use their real names when they register blogs, reports Reuters. That's right, blogs still have to be registered with the government.

Draft guidelines published by the Internet Society of China stated that the Chinese government is starting a campaign to promote 'self-discipline code' that encourages bloggers to register under their own names.

"The ISC, with the backing of the Ministry of Information Industry, is trying to rally industry players to sign up to the self-discipline code for the promotion of a less rigorous real-name system," state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The Chinese government has found it difficult to regulate the Internet, and the real-name blog proposal roused the ire of the Internet industry and users, Xinhua said. The government does filter content, block sites and restricts participation in some on-line discussion groups. But with more than 20 million blogs, free speech is starting to spread in ways centeral governments find hard to contain.