China: Radical real name registration campaign

To many info-activists, online real name registration is regarded as a violation of privacy, however, in China, some citizen rights activists are campaigning for real name online activities in order to eliminate fear.

Back in March, a netizen Zhan Lifan wrote an article, “A confession of an Internet naked runner” to advocate speaking the truth in real name.

On this Sunday, Ai Weiwei launched a campaign on real name registration via Twitter. He believed that coming out in real name is the first step to eliminate fear (via voa):

“这是必要的一步。当然你不走这一步,你可以永远地匿名。但我认为一个人如果只指责当局,只指责政府是不够的。每个人的回避,每个人的掩盖,和这种怯懦, 才造成极权的傲慢。我们都需要公开地谈话,透明地执政,透明地来谈话。如果我们不鼓励这些东西,仅仅生活在某种恐惧,而且很多时候我认为这种恐惧被夸张, 那么这将是无济于事的。”

This is a necessary step. Of course you can keep yourself anonymous your whole life. However, criticism the government is not enough. The fact that we try to cover our identity that we are so afraid of what we said has empowered the authoritarian state. We need to speak in public with transparency and demand the government to do the same. If we do not encourage such act and continue to live in fear, such fear would be exaggerated and we could not make any change.

“当局怎么可能抓每一个人呢?这是不可能的嘛。如果说每个人都公开说出自己的观点,怎么可能(都抓)呢? 我觉得当局不是铁板一块吧。我觉得任何人,当他看到大多数人都有这个意图的时候,他也会尊重民意一些。”

It is impossible for the authority to arrest everyone of us. This is just impossible if everyone can speak their opinion out loud in the public. The authority is not an iron piece, if they understand that everyone is doing the same thing with the same motivation, they have to respect the people's view.

In less than a day, hundreds of Chinese netizens join in the action and publicize their real names.

Human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang pointed out that if one uses real identity, the public usually give them more support (via voa).


If you don't use real name, nobody knows who you are but the government can get your personal info as a piece of cake. There is no way to escape from the security police and internet police. Moreover, without using real name, it is difficult for you to get public attention, people want to know who you are.


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