China: More than 100 thousand websites shut down

According to Southern Metropolis’ report on 18 Jan 2010, more than 100 thousand websites have been shut down in China since the white list policy has come into effect in December 2009. Self employed individuals who tried to maintain their business online were affected the most.

The internet cleaning was jointly launched by the Ministry of Information Industry Technology (MIIT), Public Security Bureau, Culture Bureau and the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) under the pretext of anti-vulgarity campaign. In September 2009, SARFT started cleaning up audio-visual websites by demanding them to apply for license, as a result more than 530 video websites had been shut down. After the license crack down, SARFT continued to clean up the internet in November 2009 by making use of the anti-vugarity campaign. Most of the BT websites were gone and among one of them is BT China which had been online for six years and finally shut down in December 2009.

On 8 of December 2009, a total of 9 governmental departments, including International Communication Office of CCP and Public Security Bureau, held a tele-conference and decided to launch a campaign against internet and mobile phone's pornographic information between December 2009 and May 2010.

Chinese netizens said this is the most hard-handed repression of the Internet in the history.

The official data released by the Public Security Bureau shows that in 2009 the Bureau had shut down more than 9000 websites and issued warning 11 thousands internet operation unit. 6500 servers had been either suspended or shut down while 6 internet service providers and 8 internet advertisement service providers had their license suspended.

On 14 December 2009, CNNIC banned individual from registering cn domain name and three major telecoms agreed to filter illegal SMS content. It is estimated that more than 1 million individuals are affected by the CNNIC's new policy and more than 100 thousands websites were forced to shut down by the data center.

In order to get a proper license for BBS kind of websites, an individual needs to attain the Internet Content Provider license and the pre-condition of such license is to have a company registered with 1 million yuan capital. It implies that the new policy will make internet self-employed business impossible.

As a result of the CNNIC's policy, there is a sudden grow of “.com” registration from China. Between December 7-14 2009, there were more than 180 thousand “.cm” registration from China, the increase compared to the same period last year is up to 1300%. Moreover, a large number of websites were migrated out of China.

3 comments

  • Solana

    Hi Oiwan, could you clarify a few details for me?

    Does everyone who hosts video content need a license now?

    Is it no longer allowed for individuals to buy .cn domain names anymore?

  • oiwan

    individuals cannot buy .cn domain directly according to the new regulation. however, some individuals will register cn. domain via local companies.

    as for videos, large video hosting websites (bt and video streaming) definitely require license and they are subjected to government monitoring. virtual server should be ok, and distributing via qq sharing is also ok (but qq is under strict monitor.)

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