China's Policy Update on Individual Domain Name and Website Registration

March.17.2010

The regulation of individual .CN domain name registration has been a hot topic since the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) banned the registration of new sites last December. The ban has been recently lifted in favor of a stricter registration process.

In February 2010, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued a circular, entitled Scheme for Further Implementation of Authenticity Verification on Website Registration Information (Trial Regulation) (the "Circular"), that imposes more stringent registration requirements. 

Specifically, the Circular requires the person in charge of a website to provide as part of the registration his/her original ID card, information on the domain name, the IP address of the hosting server, a brief introduction of the website's intended content and the website operator's true name, address and other contacts. Prior to the Circular, a website operator was able to register the website online. Now, a website operator is required to personally meet with regulators and representatives of an access service provider for on-the-spot verification of his/her original identification and other required materials. This process requires the following five steps:

  1. Take a color photo of the website operator;
  2. Verify the authenticity of original identification of the website operator through accessing an ID database;
  3. Check whether original identification is actually for the website operator;
  4. Verify if the information in the registration system entered by the website operator is consistent with the original identification; and
  5. Verify if the identity of the website operator is consistent with the website domain name owner according to the domain name certificate.

After verification is completed, the website registration information is transferred by the access service provider to the local communication administration authorities for further examination.

The Circular sets a September 2010 deadline for completion of the verification process for all existing websites. Furthermore, the Circular requires Internet access service providers to set up an on-site verification division by the end of February 2010 and start on-site verification of the registration information before the end of March.