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Chinese Internet Censorship Closes Thousands Of Accounts

March 2, 2015

The internet censorship rules in China went one step further last month with a number of the biggest internet companies closing around 60,000 online accounts as they failed to meet standardized regulations put in place, the Toronto Sun reports.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said that a number of high-profile internet companies had begun deleting accounts in a mass attempt to "rectify" incorrect online names. Some of the companies involved in what is being called the "cull" are: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Baidu Inc., Tencent Holdings Ltd and Weibo Corp.

There have been attempts by the Chinese government before to maintain control over online accounts, but they have invariably failed. Previous attempts to control internet account names have seen the government try to force users to register online using only their real names.

The new regulations were put in place as of March 1st by the CAC. The CAC was created only last year and has been given full power over online content in the country; before the CAC was created, control over online content was split between various government ministries, the article notes.

Some of the accounts removed include fake ones relating to various state agencies, state media businesses and religious groups—specifically the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which has been blamed for some attacks in the country but is not believed to be a genuine group.

Rogier Creemers, a professional researcher on Chinese media law at the University of Oxford, noted that "these rules essentially impose a uniform and consolidated system for all online services requiring accounts." China's 'Great Firewall' is one of the most advanced and restrictive firewalls in place in the world.

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