The state media has announced that in a a bid to curb 'rumours and vulgarity', internet users in China may require to register with their real names when signing up to network providers.
According to state-run newspapers, a law which is being discussed this week, would mean people would have to present their government-issued identity cards when signing contracts for fixed line and mobile internet access, reports News24.
AdvertisementOnly that, according to Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily, can China's internet be "healthier, more cultured and safer".
Many users feel that the restrictions are clearly aimed at further muzzling the often scathing, raucous and anonymous online chatter in a country where the internet offers a rare opportunity for open debate.
It could also prevent people from exposing corruption online if they fear retribution from officials, other users said.
It was unclear how the rules would be different from existing regulations as state media has provided only vague details and in practice customers have long had to present identity papers when signing contracts with internet providers.
Earlier this year, the government began forcing users of Sina Corp's wildly successful Weibo microblogging platform to register their real names.
The government said such a system is needed to prevent people making malicious and anonymous accusations online and that many other countries already have such rules.
Chinese internet users have long had to cope with extensive censorship, especially over politically sensitive topics like human rights, and popular foreign sites Facebook, Twitter and video-sharing website YouTube are blocked.
Despite periodic calls for political reform, the ruling Communist Party has shown no sign of loosening its grip on power and brooks no dissent to its authority.
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