Authorities have ordered all China-based web sites and blogs to register or be closed down, in the latest effort by the communist government to police cyberspace.
Commercial publishers and advertisers can face fines of up to 1 million yuan ($ 120,000) for failing to register, according to documents posted on the web site of the Ministry of Information Industry. Private, noncommercial bloggers or web sites must register the complete identity of the person responsible for the site, it said. The ministry said 74 per cent of all sites had already registered.
Blogs, web forums, chat rooms and other virtual venues have been hard to police. Now, however, the government has developed a new system to track down and close those caught violating the rules, the ministry said.
"There's a 'Net Crawler System' that will monitor the sites in real time and search each web address for its registration number," said one document listing questions and answers about the new rules. "It will report back to the MII if it finds a site thought to be unregistered."