The Beijing city government has said that it would tighten control over popular microblogs, giving users three months to register with their real names or face legal consequences.
The announcement on Friday comes after the Chinese government had repeatedly criticised microblogs for spreading what it calls unfounded rumours and vulgarities and has issued a series of warnings that online content must be acceptable to the ruling Communist Party.
Microblogs such as Sina's Weibo allow users to issue short messages of opinion - a maximum of 140 Chinese characters - that can course through chains of followers who receive messages instantly.
Censors have a hard time monitoring the tens of millions of messages sent every day and users have become expert at using clever, nuanced language to discuss sensitive topics such as human rights and the weaknesses of the top leadership.
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