Translation Of Beijing’s New Weibo Regulations

  • Posted by
  • on December 16th, 2011

William Farris has done a quick translation of the Beijing Municipal government’s new Weibo rules that will affect Sina ($SINA) and probably other microblog providers such as Netease ($NTES), Sohu ($SOHU) and Tencent.

It is probably just a coincidence that these rules were released on the coldest day in Beijing so far this winter.

There is much still unknown about the implementation of the new rules, especially the Article 9 real name requirement. Investors should be wary of underestimating both the continued regulatory risk to Sina and other Chinese Web 2.0 providers and the increasing costs they will bear to conform to the government’s expanding Internet controls. (For who not to listen to, see today’s Sell Side Analysts Love Sina, New Weibo Rules May Change Their Minds | DigiCha)

Some are saying that because real name registration failed in online gaming and mobile phone registration it will also fail for weibo. I think that is wrong.

First, these rules clearly come straight from the top, and specifically from the decision of the recent 6th Plenum of the 17th Party Congress (see 6th Plenum Report Suggests China Will Strengthen Internet Management | DigiCha). Second, Baidu’s Shuoba proved a system exists to authenticate real names in real time, at a cost of 4 RMB per verification. Third, the tiny number of sites (Sina, Tencent, Netease and Sohu) at which real name registration will matter, unlike the tens of thousands of mobile phone retail sales locations or the dozens of online game companies, means that Beijing has just a handful of points of leverage to force implementation.

If Beijing wants the big Weibo operators to authenticate user identities in real time, it will be done, possibly at vast expense to Sina and the other firms.

Note also the ambiguity in Article 10 about what users should not write. Ambiguity is very effective in encouraging self-censorship.

Here is Farris’ Translation:

Certain Provisions on the Administration of Micro-Blog Development

Article 1. These provisions are enacted in order to regulate the development of micro-blog management, maintenance, network communication order, information security, protection of Internet information services unit and micro-blog user’s legal rights, to meet the public demand for information on the Internet, to promote healthy and orderly development of the Internet, according to the “PRC Telecommunications Regulations,” “Measures on the Administration of Internet Information Services,” and other laws, regulations, rules, combined with the actual situation of the city.

Article 2. All websites launching micro-blog services and micro-blog users in the city’s administrative area shall comply with these regulations.

Article 3. The development of management of this city’s micro-blogs is conditioned upon the principles of active usage, scientific development, administration in accordance with the law, and ensuring security, in order to promote the building, utilization, and giving expression to a positive role for micro-blog services in the community.

Article 4. Websites that launch micro-blog services shall abide by the Constitution, laws, regulations, and rules, and operate in a sincere, honest, and civilized manner, actively spread the core values of the socialist system, disseminate socialist advanced culture, and build a socialist harmonious society.

Article 5. This city has formulated a micro-blog service development plan, and regulates the development the quantity, structure, and layout of micro-blog services sites.

Article 6. Websites that launch micro-blog services within the city’s administrative area shall either apply for a telecommunications operators license or carry out registration procedures for a non-commercial Internet Information Service, and shall submit an application to the the municipal Internet information content administration department, and shall be subject to examination, verification, and approval.

Article 7. Anyone who launches a micro-blog services website shall comply with relevant laws, regulations, rules, and the following provisions:

(i) establish comprehensive micro-blog information security management systems;

(ii) based on the number of users and amount of information on the micro-blog, establish a department that is responsible for information security, and allocate personnel with the requisite professional knowledge and skills;

(iii) implement technical security control measures;

(iv) establish user information security management systems to protect user information security, and strictly ensure that user information is not disclosed;

(v) establish a comprehensive system of exposing false information and the timely publication of truthful information;

(vi) do not provide an information gateway to websites that have not either undertaken telecommunication business licensing approval or registration as a non-commercial Internet information service;

(vii) do not create fake micro-blog users;

(viii) stop and restrict users that spread of harmful information stop, and make a timely report to the public security authorities upon discovery of any act that constitutes a violation of public order or that is suspected of being a crime;

(ix) assist and cooperate with relevant departments in the execution of their administrative work.

Article 8. Websites that launch micro-blog services shall establish a comprehensive system for the examination and verification of information content, and shall supervise all information content production, copying, publication, and transmission.

Article 9 Any organization or individual that registers a micro-blog account and produces, reproduces, publishes, or disseminates information content shall use real identity information, and shall not carry out registration by falsifying or replicating a resident’s identity information, business registration information, or organization code information.

Websites that launch micro-blog services shall ensure that the authenticity of registered user information under the preceding paragraph.

Article 10. No organization or individual shall make unlawful use of a micro-blog to reproduce, publish, or transmit information with the following contents:

(i) violating the basic principles of the Constitution;

(ii) jeopardizing national security, leaking state secrets, subverting the government, undermining national unity;

(iii) harming national honor and interests;

(iv) inciting ethnic hatred or ethnic discrimination, undermining national unity;

(v) violating the state religion policies or propagating cults and feudal superstitions;

(vi) spreading rumors, disturbing social order, or undermining social stability;

(vii) spreading obscenity, pornography, gambling, violence, terror or instigating crimes;

(viii) insulting or libeling other or infringing on other people’s legitimate rights and interests;

(ix) inciting illegal assembly, association, procession or demonstration, assembling to disturb social order;

(x) illegal activities on behalf of civil society organizations;

(xi) contains content prohibited under other laws and administrative regulations.

Article 11. The Municipal People’s Government Information Management Department, city police, city traffic management department, and the city department in charge of Internet content shall, according to their respective duties, engage in micro-blog development management related work.

Article 12. The Association of Online Media, Internet Industry Association, Communications Industry Association and other industry organizations shall establish and improve the micro-blog industry self-regulation system, direct websites in establishing and improving comprehensive micro-blog service standards, and conduct training and education of website employees.

Article 13. With respect to activities that violate the provisions of these provisions, any organization or individual may report them to the Municipal People’s Government Information Management Department, city police, city traffic management department, and the city department in charge of Internet content, and the department receiving it shall handle it promptly in accordance with the law.

Article 14. With respect to micro-blog websites and users that violate the provisions of these provisions, the municipal people’s government news management departments, city police, city traffic management department, and the city department in charge of Internet content shall handle them in accordance with relevant laws, regulations and rules.

Article 15. All websites that have launched micro-blogs prior to the issuance of these provisions shall carry out relevant procedures with the city department in charge of Internet content in accordance with these provision within three months of the date of publication of these provisions, and shall implement regulation of their current users.

Article 16. These provisions shall become effective from the date of issuance.

You can follow me @Bill on Stocktwits@Niubi on Twitter and @Billbishop on Sina Weibo.

The information in this blog post represents my own opinions and does not contain a recommendation for any particular security or investment. I or my affiliates may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Blog, please see my Disclaimer page for my full disclaimer.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Digicha Blog