Individuals banned from registering .cn domains

CNNIC, the China Internet Network Information Center, announced yesterday that individuals can no longer apply for a .cn website (.cn is the official Chinese Internet country code extension). The official reason is that many of these sites are used for pornographic content and people were often using fake names when registering.

The .cn extension is very popular in China, with currently over 13 million websites using it. The direct effect is that a lot less people will use the .cn domain names from now on, because you need to have a business license when applying for a domain name. Likely people will start using .com or other countries domain extensions instead, even though that’s more difficult (you will need to find a way to pay in a foreign currency, the RMB is a non-convertible currency). Or they would register their domains under a company, although most companies may not be too eager to do that: if the website turns out to have a content problem the company itself may get in trouble.

At first I was afraid my blog might be in trouble as well. I have been using for years and I bought it under my own name, not under that of a Chinese company. But today’s Shanghai Daily mentioned that existing domain names won’t be affected, the new regulation is only valid for new domain registrations. But it certainly makes me think whether I should not move my blog to a different domain in the future.

Write a Comment


  1. This is yet another one of those perfect examples, MvdC, of the rules already existing in "general format and spirit" on the books, but for some obscure, trumped-up reason(s) — in this case, due to the proliferation of internet porn — the authorities shake the old sjambok clobbering down hard on people who have been following the rules for years (there's a whole hot debate about this going on at the China Law Blog in case you're keen — over 60 comments (!!!) to Dan Harris' original post, in case you're wondering).

    If you ask me, I'd have backups one and two already in place ready to deploy, like I'm sure you already have, in case this gets a little more hairy.

    What are the alternative extensions you're considering?


  2. The contents of this blog are on servers outside China, so that's not a problem. The issue is to get people to find this blog if I would ever need to change domain names. Readers would need to change the feed in their RSS reader or in their bookmarks, and of course everything related to search engines (you lose your PageRank and everything has to be re-indexed) – there are tools for that, but it's still a hassle. For now I won't switch domains, hopefully not too much will change.