Kathrin Hille
Financial Times
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

China has banned individuals from registering internet domain names and launched a review of millions of existing personal websites in the toughest government censorship drive so far on the internet.

As of Monday, people applying to register a domain name in China must present a company chop and a business licence, the China Internet Network Information Center, a government-backed body, said in a statement.

Internet service providers said they had started to review their client base for potentially fraudulent or “harmful” individually owned sites. The term “harmful” is often used by the government as a catch-all that covers everything from pornography to anti-state activity.

As with many other issues considered sensitive by the government, individual domain name ownership has always been a legal grey area in China.

Full story here.