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Next, they posted new regulations [cnnic.net.cn] that forbid individual registrations. You now need to be a corporate entity and provide proper identification to apply.
I guess they learned their lesson after opening up .cn during the Olympics for ridiculously low prices.
Report: China Halts Overseas Registrars from Registering .CN Domains [domainnamewire.com] (Domain Name Wire)
(...) overseas registrars won't be able to register .CN domains "starting with January 6, 2010, 18:00 PM (Beijing Time). The registration stop is planned to be temporarily. According to the Chinese registry, difficulties in handling the comprehensive new application material are the reason for this drastic development. The new application material is required since the middle of December 2009, when CNNIC suddenly changed its registration policies."
From just one registrar's site: .CN domain creation suspension [iwi.gandibar.net]
After an initial change at the end of last year that surprised everyone in limiting purchase of these domains to companies only, the registry has just added a very clear and simple rule: in order to have stricter control over the domains that are sold, they simply and plainly forbid new registrations to registrars that are not Chinese!
Other major non-Chinese registrars such as Go Daddy have also removed the ability to register .cn domains from their sites.
On topic, while China has censorship in mind as well, it makes sense to have local people register the names first and to control the use a bit. Some of the nastiest spammers and filthy sites are on a .cn (maybe because they were cheap?). They have a horrible reputation so China has some rights to do this.
Every ccTLD should only be available for that country.
Opening up a ccTLD the way that China did with the .CN domain really opened a Pandora's box for them internationally. They wanted to tout the number of registrations during the Olympics to show the popularity of domain, but it really got out of control with the low prices when the spammers jumped in.
However, in this case the background is not just the issue of spammers and foreigners misusing .cn domains. The primary aim of the Chinese authorities is clearly to increase control of the ownership and content of sites in the .cn space. The new rules are everything to do with censorship, the spam issue is a diversion.
I totally agree that this is a censorship issue as well, and that it will lead to more control of the content in the .CN space in the future. However, I think they were totally unprepared for what happened when they opened the floodgates. This is their way of taking a step back and doing some damage control. And you have to admit, the .CN domain namespace in its current form is damaged goods.
One multi-national I deal with which has a .cn domain (and a several offices in China) was removed from the CNNIC DNS servers and their domain has ceased to resolve since 6th January with the authorities requiring "additional back-up information for each registered domain.." as (I assume) they are a foreign entity, before they restore them.
No warning, no statement - just - zap!
And this is a big company with a major presence in China!
They do have the needed information and should be back up today, but it took a while for them to find out what to do.
I'm not sure I agree with that in all cases. What about expats from that country living/working abroad?
In addition, the people you want to deter with restrictions will find ways around it, unless you have really tight restrictions (like .lk for example) but that ends up blocking legitimate use as well.
[edited by: bill at 12:24 pm (utc) on Jan. 26, 2010]
[edit reason] linked to original CNNIC document [/edit]