China To Enforce Real-Name Registration For Its Skyrocketing Internet Population

China is again tightening its grip on Internet access and policies (big surprise, right?), this time by issuing a ban on online accounts that impersonate people or organizations. China will also begin strictly enforcing a requirement that web users go by their real names, not nicknames, when registering for online accounts.

Enforcing the latter is a difficult task, as China has found out in the past. Its efforts have seen limited success up to this point, though it's not clear how China plans to enforce the rule going forward compared to its current efforts.

It's a daunting task when factoring in the number of Internet users in China -- there are now more than 649 million in the country that hop online, according to the China Internet Network Information Center's "China Internet Development Statistics Report" released this week.

Mobile Internet China
Image Source: Flickr (Cory M. Grenier)

A big reason for the large number of online users is the rapid growth of mobile. Some 80 percent (around 557 million) of users access the Internet in China through their smartphone or tablet device.

According to Internet watchdog Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), China's policy forbidding impersonations not only include parody accounts of figures like U.S. President Barack Obama and Russia's Vladimir Putin, but also accounts that consider themselves government bodies, like China's anti-corruption agency and news outlets like the People's Daily state newspaper, Reuters reports.

China maintains tight control over the Internet, in large part to prevent disparaging remarks and opinions about its government and politics from being posted or viewable online.