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Pending Chinese law might turn the country’s internet into an intranet

A piece of legislation currently under consideration by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is causing confusion among observers. It’s either a complete censorship apocalypse that would turn China’s internet into an intranet, or just another set of humdrum regulations.

Dubbed the “Internet Domain Name Management Rules (Opinion-seeking Revision Draft),” the pending legislation is now open for public comment until April 25. Its writing is inartful and ambiguous – leaving readers to jump to their own conclusions, some of which are pretty dire. The full draft of the law can be viewed here (link in Chinese).

State-run paper the Global Times did a pretty good job of capturing the ambiguity of the law in its English coverage – that’s not a compliment – with a report that hinged on the phrase:

“Internet domain names with access to China should be provided by domestic internet domain name registration services, which should in turn be managed by Chinese institutions. Service providers that are not under the management of Chinese institutions cannot offer domain names with access to China.”

Global Times describes the law as “unprecedented,” and states that violators may be fined up to RMB 30,000 (US$4,620).

[Read on Tech in Asia]