Private and corporate users must submit their identities to local authorities for verification, state media said, although if approved by the country's net police they "are still free" to use on-screen aliases or nicknames, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported Monday.
The policy is "in line with Chinese laws and regulations to foster a healthy Internet culture so as to better manage social networking Web sites and instant-messaging tools," Shanghai authorities said in a statement.
Beijing issued identical orders Dec. 16, and the southern manufacturing hubs of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, locations of intermittent social unrest, followed suit.
The Chinese government bans hundreds of blogging and social media sites, including Twitter, concerned by the role such Internet services played in the Arab Spring uprisings, the Telegraph reported.
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