Major mainland news portals like Sina, Netease and Sohu have begun requiring unregistered users to sign in under their real names and identification numbers, the New York Times reported. Editors at two of the portals confirmed the changes, which were made in response to a secret directive issued by the State Council Information Office, one of the government organizations charged with supervising the internet. While Beijing has called for greater "responsibiliity" and"civility" on the Chinese web, the policy was nevertheless pushed through unannounced, which one unnamed chief editor attributed to the fact that "the influence of public opinion on the net is still too big." The government has been trying to increase its ability to track and verify user identities since 2003, when Beijing instructed internet cafes in China to require customers to show identification. However, internet users and news media rejected the last publicized attempt to require real-name registration when it was suggested in 2006.
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