Essential Linkage: There's freedom in anonymity.
Censorship is one of the biggest issues facing the online users worldwide; something that isn't limited to China but extends all the way from Australia to France, New Zealand to Switzerland. However the latest development isn't a restriction of speech online as such, but a demand by China's government for full names be registered when commenting on news sites (similar to the Green Dam software debacle two months ago).
Previously this system worked much as it does on every news site, with any person being able to comment under any username they choose and no personally identifiable information being required unless they decide to share it. The new system being enforced on two of China's largest websites requires that full names, identification numbers and phone numbers be provided just to comment.
Of course these numbers can be falsified and incorrectly entered, but the majority of users wouldn't think to do so, meaning that their comments will be under intense scrutiny - with a path that leads directly back to them. With so many people in the country and an increasing percentage of them accessing the internet regularly, this means that potentially millions of people could fall under the intense glare of the government.
The news sites that have used the registration for comments experienced a huge fall in both comments and traffic, but it remains to be seen if these changes will be mandatory for all sites in China. Head to CNET to read more about this issue and comment below with your full name, address and phone number.