China Backs Off 'Real Names' Policy

China has decided to back away from its proposed policy of requiring bloggers to register for blogs with their real name, instead opting for a less strict policy that would 'encourage' self-policing.

The communist country's plans drew criticism from human rights groups and bloggers worldwide. First proposed in October of last year, the rule was aimed at keeping dissention to a minimum, as subversion is a serious crime in the China.

A new policy adopted by the Internet Society of China, the governing body of the Internet within the country, calls for citizens to follow a 'self-discipline code' when registering and writing on blogs.

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The government-controlled Xinhua news agency said that Chinese officials were attempting "to rally industry players to sign up to the self-discipline code for the promotion of a less rigorous real-name system."

It did not specify how successful the government had been in drumming up support for the new policy, which would govern China's 140 million Internet users - the second biggest Internet population in the world behind the United States.

While the new policy may seem less strict than its predecessor, the country still has wide reign on what its citizens see. It will block any site that promotes an opposing viewpoint to the Chinese government, and has been known to put pressure on those who publish what it considers "subversive material."

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