File photo shows two Tibetan women using a 3G mobile phone in Tingri County, Xigaze Prefecture, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. Photo: Tibet Daily
Both Internet service providers and users in the Tibet Autonomous Region are required to register their details with the local Internet watchdog, according to an official regulation released Friday, as the local government seeks to better regulate online information.
Internet access and online information providers, Internet data centers and domain name registration centers are required to register the real names of individual Internet users and company details when providing Internet services to them, said the regulation published on chinatibetnews.com.
Laying down a total of 16 rules, the new regulation said that all Web users are required to provide a supplementary registration of their real name information, if they have not yet registered their identity with local Internet access providers and the Internet watchdog, within 60 days of the regulation's release.
An employee from the Internet Office of the Tibet local government, who refused to be named, told the Global Times Friday that it was a pilot move to lay down real-name registration rules for Internet services nationwide.
But he refused to give more details, including how the regulation will be carried out and what kind of punishment those who fail to follow the rules will face.
Local residents were already required to provide their personal information when obtaining Internet access since early last year.
La Zhen, a local resident in Lhasa, Tibet, told the Global Times Friday that she was required to provide her identity card when she asked to get Internet access for her family last year.
"The real name registration could help curb irresponsible and unreasonable voices in cyberspace," La Zhen said.
However, she admitted that she would no longer say whatever she liked online due to the real name registration.
Xu Zhitao, an official on Tibet-related issues from the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, told the Global Times Friday that the reason why the Tibet government used the real identity registration was due to the complicated ethnic and religious reality.
"It is possible for extremists and separatists to take advantage of the Internet to create, forward and spread rumors that may paralyze ethnic unity in Tibet to their advantage," Xu said, adding that the outbound Dalai clique may also make use of online rumors in a bid to undermine local stability.
Internet information providers running news, publications, and other news services are required to keep a record of published information, including time and websites for at least 60 days, said the regulation.
In 2009, the Hangzhou government in Zhejiang Province passed the nation's first real identity registration regulation on Internet security management, ruling that Web users were required to provide their personal information when posting articles and playing online games, which faced many practical challenges, including verification of Internet users' information.