After complaints from Internet companies, local media reports the Chinese government seems set to back down from its intention to impose strict real-name registration for the country's 20 million bloggers.

The government has been promoting a real-name system for years, arguing it would force Internet users to watch their words and actions and to refrain from slander, pornography and dissemination of other "harmful" information. But the proposal has triggered protests from the Internet industry and the growing number of Internet users in China.

However, in a draft self-discipline code for blog services published by the Internet Society of China recently, real-name registration will be "encouraged", though not compulsory. According to the draft, an author's real name is not always mandatory for opening a blog, but bloggers are asked to register their real names and real information with service providers when they open their Internet accounts.

The code, published on the Internet to solicit public opinions, aims to prescribe the obligations of both blog service providers and bloggers through self-discipline, requiring providers to improve their services and standardize their businesses as well as reminding blog users of their social responsibilities.

China has more than 20 million registered blogs, though it it still difficult to characterize exactly what a blog is and how it differs from some other types of websites. Government officials have raised concerns over the spread of "unhealthy" information in some blogs and reportedly still worry that lack of registration will cause problems in the future.


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