To be anonymous or not?
If the proposed real-name system is adopted, the decision on that issue will be taken out of the Internet users' hands.
The Internet Society of China (ISC), affiliated with the Ministry of Information Industry, is reportedly weighing regulations that would require users to submit their real names and identification card numbers to web operators when opening a blog or posting comments on bulletin boards. Users, however, would be allowed to post under pseudonyms.
The purpose of the "limited real name system" is, in the words of an ISC spokesman, to "balance personal privacy and public and national interests."
With 120 million users in China, the Internet has become a powerful platform for the spread of multiple opinions and information. But many new things are double-edged. The Internet can promote freedom of speech, but it may also provide a forum for information and activities that go against the law, such as slander.
The protection of privacy and other rights should not be a reason for excluding proper management in accordance with the law. Worldwide experiences indicate that both can be achieved.
Controversy arises over the question of what constitutes "proper management." Many people fear that management would go so far as to infringe upon people's rights.
Policy-makers, therefore, must ensure that people's rights are not damaged while imposing Internet regulation. Otherwise, regulation would easily be taken as a way to suppress free expression of opinions, a basic right the public enjoys.