March 1, 2006 9:08 AM PST

China creates own Internet domains

China has announced it is creating a new set of domain names based on Chinese characters.

China has created three of its own top-level domains that will use the domain names .cn, .com and .net, in Chinese. The domain names were launched Wednesday by the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry.

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The creation of Chinese character domain names has led to speculation that China could break away from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) completely, and undermine the global unity of the Domain Name System (DNS), the network of servers that resolves domain name requests.

"It means Internet users don't have to surf the Web via the servers under the management of ICANN of the U.S.," reported the People's Daily Online, a Chinese government-approved publication.

ICANN, though, declined to comment on China's plans as scant details have been made available by the Chinese Ministry.

"We are intending to clarify the situation today. There's confusion about whether China is creating top-level or second-level domains, because of an ambiguous report. The situation is unclear at the moment," according to ICANN.

Internet experts are concerned that this move will see China administrating its top-level domains with its own separate root servers, which could cause a split in the Internet.

"Fragmentation is a concern both to ICANN and us because of end user confusion," said Geir Rasmussen, chief executive of Global Name Registry, a domain name registration organization that oversees the .name domain.

"Users might lose trust in the system if there are multiple versions of the same domains. If someone launched a .name in a different root, you as an end-user could not be sure which root you were using. It would be like having a phone number that points to two different people," Rasmussen added.

Last year, several countries objected to ICANN's power over the Internet, because it is ultimately under the control of the U.S.

The European Union and other nations demanded that the U.S. share responsibility for the DNS, including decisions over adding and deleting new top-level domains, with the United Nations. The Bush administration resisted them.

"There has been conflict with ICANN about who should govern the Internet. We wouldn't be surprised if the Internet became fragmented, because some areas of the world really don't feel included," Rasmussen said.

"The Internet up to now has been mostly Westernized, and some countries may feel disenfranchised, as they can't access the Internet in their local language," Rasmussen added. "I think this is about accessibility. Think if all Westerners had to enter characters in Chinese script."

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
domain name, domain, China, DNS, U.S.

72 comments

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Where does a 500 pound gorilla sleep?
Rhetorical Question

Hal
Posted by (29 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where does Harold Kraus sleep?
Harold Kraus stuttered:
>Rhetorical Question Hal

A rhetorical question from a rhetorical person.

Typical waste of time idiots.
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Link Flag
Where ever he wants
Posted by gillice (1 comment )
Link Flag
Where does a 500 pound gorilla sleep?
Rhetorical Question

Hal
Posted by (29 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Americans should break away from ICANN, too
If there was ever an anti-productive, sludge-bound bureaucracy,
ICANN is it. Like the Chinese we should revolt and put domain
management into the free market. Innovation, not strangulation!
Posted by nicmart (1829 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Can you
Name another body better than ICANN?
Posted by (56 comments )
Link Flag
Censorship at its fullest
This is nothing more than the communist govt of China censoring and taking control over the internet.

The process is simple. A govt like China can easily control the radio, newspapers and magazines, television. Except for the always ellusive Internet. Not anymore. With this maneuver, the Chinese govt will take full control of the last medium of communication left. Basically, the whole brain washing process is complete.

Don't get fooled people. This is pure and simple censorship Communist-China style.
Posted by Dead Soulman (245 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You call it censorship, I think it is great idea. If Chinese keep using Latinize alphabet, they will eventually diminish their language and kid can stumble into porn and all other Western propaganda.

US hegemony by good for the Anglo world but it is not good for Asia, since it set the tone for culture and other things.
Posted by JOL15685 (3 comments )
Link Flag
Maybe Not
There is an interesting post on this a Rebecca Mackinnon's <a href="http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2006/02/chinas_new_doma.html#comments">RConversations</a> blog. It is not necessarily what it seems.
Posted by jrconsults (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe Not
There is an interesting post on this at Rebecca Mackinnon's RConversations</a> blog. It is not necessarily what it seems.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2006/02/chinas_new_doma.html" target="_newWindow">http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2006/02/chinas_new_doma.html</a>
Posted by jrconsults (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This was the impression I got as well
I got the same impression - that they'd be creating top level domains in chinese, using chinese characters. They'll probably be able to create domain names that way as well.
Posted by (402 comments )
Link Flag
How is it not about censorship?
It seems like the eventual goal. Get greater control of what people are able to access.

The confusion surrounding the issue is exactly why the closed communist system will never be as great as democracy.
Posted by BogusName (33 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What kind of democracy?
I hope that you are not talking about the kind of "democracy"

Let's see, a country where the government spies on it's citizens? Where people in power tend to be corrupt and favor buddies, give no-bid contracts, make personal interest come before the good of people? Where 17yo kids can go to war and kill "enemies" but not drink or have sex? Is that China or maybe our good old USA?

Having a Chinese speaking portion of the web is not censorship in itself after all. What would you think if the internet was ONLY in Chinese? That would certainly render the internet tremedously useful to you. How many Chinese actually read English?
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
Control domains = control how their people use the net
If they control the top level domain names, they'll be controlling what sites their people can visit, and the rules those sites operate under. Its far easier for them to filter access this way.

Also, consider that they'll offer companies the ability to register their domain names for $X. As most larger companies will appearently sell out their principles for access to china's consumers, this can be millions of businesses throwing $100 at them. Not chump change... and not a bad return on setting up a couple root servers.
Posted by (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Domains is NOT equal to internet
Adding domain name in a different language does NOT change the way Internet works. It does not make filtering easier or more difficult. The names just happen to be spelled differently. That's all. In fact, you could even have Chinese names for English web sites!!! (as long as they have a Chinese translation somewhere)
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
They already do
The Chinese government already control what sites people have access to (witness Google's recent removal of any references to the Tianamen Square massacre of the Chinese version of their search engine).
Posted by booboo1243 (328 comments )
Link Flag
When Will The Chinese...
... realize that the future of the internet - just as the future of "outer space" (where they are yet to make their mark) does not and will not revolve around China.
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So... they should switch to speaking English?
When will we (Americans) admit that not everybody speaks English and that we cannot force our (messed up) language on others?

This is about language as it does not add any filtering that could not be done without this new TLD...
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
When will the Americans...
realize that the world doesn't revolve around them.
Posted by TheShane (55 comments )
Link Flag
Good timing, but bad for the internet
It's pretty good timing seeing that other nations have been
frustrated recently - so a response by the rest of the world
might not be very unified.
I'm thinking that China is doing whatever it wants until someone
puts their foot down in the name of, well, sanity. Your own
domain servers, your own optical disc standard, your own
wireless standard...
I don't blame them for wanting to just get things done but I
wonder if they will be kicking themselves as they try to open up
to the rest of the world with their new domain servers only to
find an incredible nightmare of administration.
It's been an interesting period of people seeing money in China
so they'll accept anything they dish up.
I would rather see somone or some group put their foot down in
some way - so you want to make your own domains, well fine,
then we'll filter everything from outside your domain so nothing
goes in and nothing goes out. You can have your silly
isolationism.
I admit that I don't understand the culture and I have some very
good friends who are from China. I'm not trying to be racist or
anything, I just think that in this particular instance, the Chinese
really need some heartfelt outside persuasion to reconsider.
We're already having problems with IP addresses, IP version
upgrades, tld servers being brought to their knees, increasing
traffic from video streams, spam, and other things. I suppose
this will help us to be more open ourselves then...who knows.
Posted by jeromatron (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Spoken like a dictator. Who are you 'put your foot down'? This is call localization. Your is hegemony. It is convience for you since you speak English. You want other to speak English so you don't have to spend your precious time learn other people language. You are pretty close mind.

You comment is what the Chinese leadership is say. They are 'put there foot down' because of US hegemony and cultural imperialism. Sorry but you are an idioto.
Posted by JOL15685 (3 comments )
Link Flag
China's own Internet
The Internet was created in the United States and is under American control. Some nations have different legal standards of what can be posted on the internet, or simply don't like what's being posted or distributed on the world wide web.
If they don't like it they should be allowed to create their own wide area network. If they don't make their system open and availible for others to use easily they will suffer and fail.
Posted by stargazzr (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
some of your points are a bit off topic
Really, if you want to compare corruption and cronyism to institutional repression, I'll take the the first every time. Are they not forcing abortions in China right now?

Look, I'm not saying America is perfect, but I am just skeptical of their true intentions on this one.

Your point about the language limitations is somewhat lost on me. All major web sites support localization and they are free to create there own content.
Posted by BogusName (33 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yippie!!! No more Spam
Let them create their own root and keep all their people locked inside it, then they won't be able to spam the rest of the world!
Posted by Bitfarmer (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Most spam originates from within the US
All those PCs with trojan are the source of it... So, no such luck :-(

Besides, TLD is NOT internet, so routing will still work...
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
Spam
99% of the spam I receive is from the USA.By the way my windows uses french.éèàêâê.Easier to spot spam...Chinese Spam? Only when I cook!!
Posted by Aami (2 comments )
Link Flag
Lighter Possible Upside
Mandarin readers all over the world can be spared the boring blogs of millions of Chinese cyber wannabes.
Posted by inouyde (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No Time for Love!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://noluv4google.com" target="_newWindow">http://noluv4google.com</a>
Posted by (128 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Perhaps the French can start their own!
Perhaps the French can do us a favor and instead of demanding how the U.S. runs the Internet and what can or can not be posted. They could get off our Internet!

If someone wants to surf the Internet in French let them do it on France's own Internet service.

They can't be pleased so why try to apease them?
Posted by stargazzr (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good idea....
.... even better if Quebec will vote itself out of Canada so the
Canadians can stop the stupid idea of requiring all labels in both
french and English.

Actually the French people are pretty nice. Things just go to hell
when they join together to form a govenrment, and when that
government tries to run another country, eg., French Indo-China,
Algeria, Haiti, Mexico,......etc.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
WHEN ARE MY DAMN SHIRTS GONNA BE READY?
If China wants to have their own top domain names based on Chinese characters I'd certainly understand but now every country is gonna want their own top domain names which will equal a HUGE mess. As far as countries not liking the US controlling ICANN well that's just tough sh%it--Al Gore invented it [joking!] so we run it as we see fit. If you don't like it too bad.
Posted by NRecob (78 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You may want to start learning to speak Mandarin Chinese!
I believe that we are headed for a time in the near future (within the next decade) where closed-minded individuals are going to get a sudden awaking (Bush and congress for starters). China represents 1/3 of the worlds population and if you think we Americans are going to hold onto our status as a world power by bulling the rest of the world I think that some people ought to take and study what has happened to past civilizations that harbored the same thoughts, Romans and Germany under Hitler come to mind (Please dont go off and say we are not dictating to the rest of the world  we are). Even the Chinese had the same problems long ago with Genghis Khan.

There is a recent book I am reading by Thomas L. Friedman, Pulitzer Prize winning author and columnist for the New York Times its title is The World Is Flat. It is an eye opening history of the Twenty-First Century and deals with globalization and the spread of technology. You should read it and then rethink if the Chinese will not succeed with their version of the internet Domains and beyond. As far as this goes, I also believe that it could be the start of the end of communism since the very nature of the internet brings knowledge and truth to those who seek it!
Posted by SharpFocus (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wow, this is great news. This could open up new market for China and prevent English hegemony and cultural hegemony of the West. Independence is the hallmark of a great nation.

I hope China can be independent of the Anglo-American hegemony.
Posted by JOL15685 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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