Recently, the Cyberspace Administration of China has issued a new regulation requiring the identity verification of the people who comment online and to “review the messages and screenshots before posting.” Commentators believe this is the China Communist Party’s further restriction of social media.

On June 17th, the Cyberspace Administration of China issued a draft named “Management of Internet Post Comment Service” (Revised Draft for Opinions),” which requires website platforms to provide comment services to authenticate the identity of registered netizens; otherwise, they will not be able to post comments.

On the same day, People’s Daily Online posted an article titled: “Cyberspace Administration of China plans to regulate users to use their real names to post their comments, and they must be managed at different levels.”

Chinanews also reported, “Cyberspace Administration of China intends to stipulate that users who have not authenticated their real identity information will not be provided with comment services.”

The draft, in consultation with the Cyberspace Administration, also requires that the site platform needs to “establish a user evaluation management system” to conduct a “credit rating” of users’ comments, who “seriously violate the trust.” They should be blacklisted to prevent them from re-registering their accounts.

The draft also requires the website platform to set up systems such as real-time review and inspection management and carry out “pre-post review” on comments.

Besides, the service providers who use the “blocking” method should “unify the platforms and pages, and provide a corresponding static version of the information content.”

According to NTDTV, the news raised criticism from mainland netizens, and they said: “The network environment will be North Korea’s environment in the future,” “offline coding information, checking and blocking online information.”

A news channel quoted Liu Qing, a Chinese human rights activist residing in the U.S, that the Cyberspace Administration of China’s real-name tracking system’s purpose is to intimidate followers, and all your followings will reveal your identity. It puts you under psychological pressure to deter you. Like a robber, he knows he’s bad but won’t let you say he’s bad and wants to control or scare you.

Liu Qing said: “None of you can have any criticism, whether it’s a direct criticism of me, a criticism of the Communist Party, or a criticism of those who follow it must be completely controlled. That’s the ultimate goal of the organization.”

Wu Shaoping, a Chinese human rights lawyer living in the U.S, also said that no Internet network in China could escape the control of the Chinese Communist Party. A few years ago, some major portals were purged, including Weibo, then the real-name system on Weibo and WeChat was deployed. Violators have been deleted, banned, and even arrested. Now even posts and comments are strictly controlled.

Lawyer Wu said: “I think another factor is that Xi Jinping wants to attract positive public opinion for the 20th National Party Congress of Chinese Comunist Party, so he doesn’t want any trouble to interfere with his re-election. I think this is the main reason.”

The Cyberspace Administration of China’s new regulation comes when public opinion is boiling over the case of several men beating a woman and her friends at a barbecue restaurant in Tangshan.

According to NTDTV, some commentators said that in limited cyberspace, mainlanders would occasionally cause some incidents to stir up public opinion, such as the case of a girl with a chain around her neck and the beating of people in Tangshan, which would put pressure on the administration. 

The news channel quoted Chinese human rights activist Liu Qing, “An authoritarian and dictatorial regime can use its power in an extremely cruel way. Then, in this case, people living in North Korea is a typical example, and they can control people to such a degree.”

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