Chinese Internet censors are considering widening their control over what is posted on the country's popular microblog websites and other online forums.
The government released a list of proposed changes to its Internet law Thursday, that aim to put greater pressure on social media websites to crack down on users posting anonymous comments.
China has recently intensified Internet controls by requiring real name registration for nearly all of the country's microblog services on a city-by-city basis. But with an estimated 300 million microblog users, compliance has been patchy.
The changes proposed would threaten criminal punishment and loss of business licenses for companies that do not comply. It would also widen the real name registration requirement to those who post information on online forums and blogs.
China's massive network of Internet censors, dubbed the Great Firewall of China, has been working to apply limits in recent months as a once-in-a-decade leadership transition in the Communist Party draws closer.
The government says its censorship policy is aimed at maintaining social stability, and that it will help stop the spread of false rumors and inappropriate material.
Chinese microblog services have become wildly popular in recent years. Western social media websites such as Facebook
are blocked in China.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.