To eliminate fake accounts on social media that have impersonated public figures, the government of China updated rules that go a great deal further and make anonymity illegal in social network, blogs, IM services and discussion forums.
The move, which was announced on Wednesday, is just the latest in a series of recent actions by the Chinese government that have increased the censorship online in China.
To justify these new rules, the central government said that there had been fake accounts that impersonated well know personalities or real groups to damage the society. In certain cases, the accounts that were fake were set up to impersonate government departments in China and mislead the general public, according to the top regulator of Internet for China.
To ban fake accounts, China issued the new regulations that require users of Internet to use their real name when they register on certain websites.
These accounts include blogs, a service that is Twitter-like that is known as weibo, tools for instant messaging and forums.
These new rules, which do not apply to any email accounts, are retroactive.
However, users may still choose their screen names online. According to the new rules, the screen names as well as the profile picture cannot contain bad or illegal information. Otherwise, the account is deleted or denied.
Screen names that are unacceptable include anything the government deems harmful to the country, spreads rumor, is related to violence or fans any ethnic discrimination, amongst others.
Although large in scope, the regulations are not that surprising. Recently, the government has steadily increased the censorship in the country through blocking more Internet sites that are foreign, and late in 2014 banning the use of pun and wordplay in the media.
Before the regulations on Wednesday, China was working to rein in the controversial content on the many comment sections online.
Previously, it has demanded that when users apply for new mobile phone service or if they register on sites that are Twitter like, they first have to provide real ID information.