Nanning City Requires Web Site Operators to Register With Law Enforcement

February 17, 2006

Public security officials in Nanning city in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region issued an announcement (in Chinese) on January 20, 2006 saying that all work units and individuals in Nanning operating a Web site have 30 days to register with the Public Information Network Security Supervision Bureau of the Nanning Municipal Public Security Office. The notice said that public security officials will "sanction" Web site operators that fail to register.

Nanning joins Penglian (in Shandong province), Qingdao, Guangzhou, and Beijing in forcing Web sites to register with public security authorities. Officials have cited provisions of the Measures for the Administration of Security Protection of Computer Information Networks with International Interconnections as authorizing this registration requirement, but have not explained why the government has chosen to begin enforcing those provisions now, when the Measures were enacted in 1997. The move coincides, however, with the Ministry of Information Industry's (MII) ongoing crackdown on private Web sites that has so far resulted in the closure of thousands of Web sites whose operators failed to register. The MII said in a May 30, 2005 announcement posted on its Web site that its authority to launch the campaign was based on the Measures for the Administration of Internet Information Services. These measures became effective in 2000, however, and the government has not explained what prompted them to issue the Registration Administration Measures for Non-Commercial Internet Information Services in February 2005 to specify how the measures should be enforced.

The CECC noted in its 2005 Annual Report -- Freedom of Expression -- Government Censorship section that Chinese censorship officials have expressed concern that "various enemy forces strongly coordinate with each other, and take those things that cannot be published domestically abroad to be published, and then these once again infiltrate domestically." In 2005 the government and the Party expressed concern that Chinese citizens have increased access to foreign news sources through the Internet, and that this may dilute the Party's control over public opinion. Senior officials portray the Internet as "a battlefield for the Communist Party's propaganda ideology work" that must either be occupied or lost to "Western countries, headed by the United States." The Party has said it must win the battle for Internet propaganda supremacy, otherwise "not only will it influence China's image and investment environment, but more importantly, it will influence the image of the Party and the government."