China’s leadership offered a Christmas gift to Wangmins (Chinese netizens): a possible new law about real-name registration on the Internet, which triggered fierce objections by the advocates for free expression online. This is the subtext of Vice Premier Wang Qishan’s recommendation to officials to read Tocqueville’s "The Old Regime and the French Revolution," which warns about the social disorders that revolutions can create. The push for real-name Internet registration not only shows the government’s intent to tighten its control over the Internet, it also reflects Beijing’s fear that Wangmins could lead a revolution in China. Ironically, the real source of concern is demand for political reform from Maoists on the left, rather than democrats on the right.
PacNet #19 – The Spartacus in China’s Wonderland
March 14, 2013