China to ban anonymous online comments - China’s latest society and culture news - SupChina
Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

Premium

Join the thousands of executives, diplomats, and journalists that rely on SupChina for daily analysis of the full China story.

Daily Newsletter

All the news, every day. Premium analysis directly from our Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Goldkorn.

24/7 Slack Community

Have China-related questions and want answers? Our Slack community is a place to learn, network, and opine.

Free Live Events & More

Monthly live conference calls with leading experts, free entry to SupChina live events in cities around the world, and more.

"A jewel in the crown of China reporting. I go to it, look for it daily. Why? It adds so much insight into the real China. Essential news, culture, color. I find SupChina superior."
— Max Baucus, former U.S. Ambassador to China

Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

OR… for more in-depth analysis and an online community of China-focused professionals:

Learn About Premium Access Now!
Learn More
Minimize
Learn More
Minimize

China to ban anonymous online comments – China’s latest society and culture news


“I don’t know if it’s good or bad for the government to ban people from commenting.”

“You are still allowed to write comments, but you have to be responsible for what you say. If you are a well-behaved internet user, there is nothing to fear.”

These are two of the reactions (in Chinese) to news that the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s top internet regulator, announced (in Chinese) that, starting October 1, it will require internet users to identify themselves with their real names to use comments sections on news and social media websites. The users do not have to display their real names when commenting and can continue to use nicknames, but the rules require internet companies to verify the real identities of all users of commenting functions. This is known as “real name in the back end, voluntary use of real name on the front end” (后台实名,前台自愿 hòutáishímíng, qiántáizìyuàn).

According to the notice, all forms of comments — on websites, mobile apps, or any other digital platforms — are subject to the new rule, including “bullet screen” (弹幕 dànmù), a popular feature among young Chinese that allows users to have their comments scroll across the screen while watching videos.

The rules also stipulate that companies must implement a real-time review system to filter inappropriate comments before they appear on the internet. CAC offices at national and provincial levels are instructed to conduct regular credential checks on providers of commenting services and establish a blacklist for violators.

The goal, as the CAC said in the notice, is to “improve the management of the online commenting service and promote healthy and orderly development of the service,” since online comments have led to “the dissemination of rumors, vulgar language and illegal information.”

A partial history of real-name registration in links

There has been talk of real-name registration (实名制 shímíngzhì) for internet and mobile services since the early 2000s, but implementation has, until recent years, been ineffective. This is hardly surprising, as it was only in 2000 that China made it compulsory (in Chinese) to use real names when opening bank accounts. Not until 2015 was ID required to open a mobile phone account.

Wikipedia’s Chinese-language version has a good history of real-name registration in China, or you can read in English about some of the milestones below:


Share
Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.