China's parliament approved on Friday a measure to require people to register with Internet service providers under their true names to gain access to the Web.
ISPs "will ask users to provide genuine identification information upon signing contracts for Internet access, fixed-line telephones or mobile devices, or to permit users to publish information in the public domain," the legislation reads.
While authorities say the measure is necessary to ensure data security and "safeguard citizens' legitimate rights and interests," many Chinese Web denizens denounce it as online censorship.
The new law also obliges ISPs to remove "illegal information" on detection, though the document doesn't specify criteria for deeming information "illegal."
In comments posted on the very Internet forums targeted by the legislation, people said the move was a response to recent episodes where anonymous denunciations on the Web exposed major corruption in various local governments across China.
Those scandalous revelations followed statements by outgoing President Hu Jintao and anointed successor Xi Jinping that identified corruption as a threat to the survival of the Chinese political system. EFE