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China’s massively popular social network Sina Weibo’s new user regulations come into effect today.
The rules, which effectively censor free speech were announced a couple of weeks ago. They are largely thought to have been drawn up on the back of pressure from the Chinese government. Authorities have been cracking down on social media in recent months for spreading what they call “false rumours”.
The regulations mean that:
Users have the right to publish information, but may not publish any information that:
1. Opposes the basic principles established by the constitution
2. Harms the unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of the nation
3. Reveals national secrets, endangers national security, or threatens the honor or interests of the nation
4. Incites ethnic hatred or ethnic discrimination, undermines ethnic unity, or harms ethnic traditions and customs
5. Promotes evil teachings and superstitions
6. Spreads rumors, disrupts social order, and destroys societal stability
7. Promotes illicit activity, gambling, violence, or calls for the committing of crimes
8. Calls for disruption of social order through illegal gatherings, formation of organizations, protests, demonstrations, mass gatherings and assemblies
9. Has other content which is forbidden by laws, administrative regulations and national regulations.
The social network recently announced that it had gone past the 300-million registered user mark. It did not, however, say how many of those were active users, indicating that things may not be as rosy as they seem.
According to The Next Web, Sina Weibo also recently admitted that it had failed to effectively implement rules requiring everyone on the network to register their real names.