Beijing Implements New Rules Requiring Real Name Registration On Microblogs: Every Bush And Tree Looks Like An Enemy?

On 16 December 2011, the Information Office of the Beijing Municipal Government, the Beijing Public Security Bureau (i.e. the Chinese police) and the Beijing Communication Administration Bureau (i.e. the local branch of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) jointly issued the Beijing Municipality Several Provisions on the Administration of the Development of Microblogs (the "Provisions") which took effect on the same date.

This client note explains what and who will be affected by the Provisions and examines the most controversial aspect of the Provisions, namely the requirement under Article 9 for microblog users to register using their real identities rather than an alias or an online moniker.

It also explores the social and political context to the Provisions which have been enacted shortly before the Chinese Communist Party's once-in-a-decade power transition, the first such transition to take place in the age of social media.

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