China tightens rules for microblog users

BEIJING (AP) ? Beijing authorities have ordered microblogs to enforce real name registration for users, a tightening of rules aimed at cleaning up China’s rapidly growing social networking sphere.

An announcement Friday ordered microblogs like’s Weibo to enforce real name registration within three months. The Chinese Twitter-like service has more than 250 million users.

The rules, jointly issued by the Beijing government, police and Internet management office, apparently apply to all Weibo users, regardless of location, because the company has headquarters in the capital.

The rules also forbid use of microblogging to “incite illegal assembly.” Public protests are illegal in China and a concern for the Communist leadership.