Tightening the Net in China

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Authorities in the coastal city of Xiamen have said they plan to require local bloggers to register with their real names. At the moment it is possible to use a pseudonym. This, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the internet planned a huge role in the protests that roiled the city in early June when thousands of residents poured onto the streets to denounce a plan to build a chemical factory in a Xiamen suburb. The central government in Beijing was contemplating a similar plan earlier this year but seems to have backed down on the idea, for the moment at least. What’s puzzling about the Xiamen government’s announcement is how exactly they are going to control registration by Xiamen residents. Presumably, through the local ISP companies. Which will then encourage people to find out about proxies and the like so they can blog and surf anonymously. Another skirmish in what will prove to be a drawn out game of cat and mouse, methinks….

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