China is stepping up its regulation of cyberspace as concerned agencies intensify their crackdown on online dissent amid growing public anger against the country’s stringent Covid restrictions.
The end users will be booked soon for liking posts deemed illegal or harmful w.e.f of Dec.15, 2022 as part of a new set of guidelines published by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The CAC is chaired by leader Xi Jinping and recent regulation is aimed to crackdown on dissent and to contain protest expansion. China is much concerned with the spreading protest activities and only vital means of control is to stop the communications of the potential protesters including reports of protest activities and appeals of joining them. The increasingly strict internet censorship, many voices of dissent would be silenced and it will help Xi to conduct his business smoothly for next five years.
Under new regulation, all online sites are required to verify users’ real identities before allowing them to submit comments or like posts. Users have to be verified by providing their personal ID, mobile phone, or social credit numbers. All online platforms must set up a ‘vetting and editing team’ for real-time monitoring, reporting, or deleting content. In particular, comments on news stories must be reviewed by the sites before they can appear online. All platforms also need to develop a credit rating system for users based on their comments and likes. Users with poor ratings dubbed ‘dishonest’ will be added to a blocklist and banned from using the platform or registering new.
China is well aware of “Internet power” and its global impact. The new regulation will definetly isolate China unless alternatives are explored. Voices of dissent are all time high in Tibet and Uighurs dominated areas and extent of atrocities committed there since decades have been exposed and brought embarassment to China at international forums. China had also despatched cyber expert teams to Myanmar after coup in Feb’2021 to contain social media campaign against its trusted Military regime and also to check the growing anti China sentiments in Myanmar. Similar experiments have been carried out in Hongkong but will these “voices of dissent” can be calmed down or it will take another shape.