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China Requires Blog Registration

The BBC reports that the Chinese government has announced plans to regulate blogs and online forums and chat rooms - not merely run-of-the-mill websites, which publishers have long since had to officially register. Reporters without Borders said the initiative would "enable those in power to control online news and information much more effectively." Bloggers must register the full identity of the person responsible for the sites, the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry (MII) said.

The new rules could be devastating for bloggers in China who do not toe the Chinese Communist party line, said Reporters Without Borders. Commercial publishers and advertisers can face fines of up to one million yuan ($121,000) if they fail to register. All blogs and websites must be registered by June 30.

"The internet has profited many people but it also has brought many problems, such as sex, violence and feudal superstitions and other harmful information that has seriously poisoned people's spirits," according to a statement on the MII website.

The question now is, How this new round of censorship will affect the efforts of U.S. internet players - particularly major portal/blog
engines - to establish themselves in China. If the past is an indication, "let's just all get along and keep making money" is likely to remain the standard operating procedure.

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