Beijing residents will soon need to provide identification when they register a new cellphone number or transfer an old one, authorities said on Wednesday.
The so-called real-name system, part of a draft regulation still under discussion, follows similar moves by many micro-blogging websites to get users to log their personal details.
"People's interests will be better protected under the policy, while illegal uses of cellphones, such as fraud and spreading rumors, will be effectively deterred," said Tong Liqiang, deputy director of the Beijing Internet Information Office.
The capital should set a good example for the country, he said, adding: "The real-name system is a trend involved in the fast development of the Internet. It's a foundation for online management and will be helpful in promoting credibility in our country."
The Beijing Public Security Bureau, the city's communication administration and the commission of economy and information technology have also been involved in drawing up the policy.
Tong said the publication date of the regulation has not been set because many details need to be ironed out.
Reaction to the new rules was mixed among people contacted by China Daily on Wednesday.
Tang Yu, 24, a China Unicom customer, said she used her ID card when buying her cellphone in July 2011. "Showing my real identity to get a phone number is fine," she said. "It won't affect my life and can help block spam."
Wang Sheng, also 24, said he bought his cellphone SIM card in 2006 but would be happy to supply his real identity, as long as the procedure is convenient.
However, Zong Zheng was less willing. "I don't want to give my real name to a telecom company. It's unsafe," said the 27-year-old. "It could risk my privacy being leaked."
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