In a country where freedoms are carefully chosen, China’s internet has remained one of the few places where individuals can freely operate. Well, sort of: a good analogy would liken the internet here to the wild west, a place where disorder and unbridled individual liberty is always being chased by the law in one way or another. But China’s net police seem to have taken a pretty drastic step in their ongoing efforts to tightly regulate the internet.
As of last night, individuals can no longer register domain names in China. It seems that the only people who can make new websites will be businessmen or organizations, and all those new registrants will need to have both written application materials as well as copies of their enterprise’s business license or organization code certificate.
Our best guess is that government officials are trying to crack down on domestic pornography sites. As the move was both swift and unexpected, netizens have been angrily reacting to the news. Here are a few comments translated from NetEase:
- “The injurious truth is that legal and grassroots websites will be on the banned list, while genuinely illegal sites won’t care about this policy”
- “I have an idea: abolish all network and computer technology and stop making all movies to slowly judge pornography.”
- “Finished! I can’t see anything! Weird, my eyes have some sort of problem, I can’t tell what’s going on?”
- “I was unemployed for a few years, and thought I’d make a little money by registering a website, do information services, but it looks like that fell through! I originally thought of driving a taxi, but such work isn’t very specialized….if only i could read NetEase from home and daydream!”
- “This is so unfair, us ordinary people have no way to benefit from this. This is our country’s system?”
And as another netizen points out, most of the pornographic websites available in china aren’t even registered as .cn domains, which would make the ban largely ineffectual against pornography. We wonder how the limitations on the already tentative freedom will play out on the internet over the next few days.
Photo from QQ