International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) is concerned to learn that China’s State Council Information
Office plans to create a registration system for web-users seeking to participate
in online forums or to post information on the Internet.
to an article in the state-owned China Daily newspaper on May 5, the Minister
for the State Council Information Office, Wang Chen, disclosed that the system
would require netizens and cell-phone users to supply their real names when
posting information on the Internet,
instead of using “usernames” or pseudonyms.
reportedly said that the office had been exploring the creation of an identity
authentication system for web-users posting to bulletin boards, citing a need
to prevent “hostile overseas forces from infiltration via the Internet”. Wang explained that preventing the dissemination
of “harmful information” was a key concern of the office.
to the China Internet Network
Information Centre, about 400 million Chinese citizens go online, while more
than 600 million people own cell phones.
proposed system will intimidate web-users into self-censorship, limiting freedom
of expression online,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan
IFJ urges the State Council Information Office to reconsider and drop its plans
for the registration system, on the basis that it will contravene China’s
constitutional guarantees to freedom of expression.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide