China tightens rules for microblog users

Beijing authorities on Friday ordered Internet microblogs to require users to register with their real names, a tightening of rules aimed at controlling China’s rapidly growing social networks. An announcement posted online said all microblog companies registered in the capital had to enforce real name registration within three months. The rules, jointly issued by the Beijing government, police and Internet management office, apparently apply to all 250 million users of the hugely popular Twitter-like service Weibo.com, regardless of location, because its operator, Chinese Web portal Sina Corp., is headquartered in Beijing. Sina rival Tencent Holdings is based in the southern city of Shenzhen. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the company’s microblog service would have to comply with the same rules. China had more than 485 million Internet users as of the end of June, the most of any country in the world. The new rules explicitly forbid use of microblogging to “incite illegal assembly.” Public protests are illegal in China and are a concern for the Communist leadership

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jR04kLCZ5lL54hIDSc35xVGWX5eQ?docId=2084ff9f555d4beca812955edd8a0805

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