China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has issued to domain name registrars a circular which asks further work to be done to verify the registration information of websites in the coming weeks.

MIIT issued a circular and initiated a government-led crackdown on pornographic content in December 2009 when it asked domain name service providers to verify domain name applicant’s personal information, keep a copy of their valid personal ID certificates, and conduct inspections on the main content, contact details and Internet access information of websites using the .CN and .COM designations within China.

MIIT stated in the new circular, which is intended for local communications management bureau, China Internet Network Information Center, the Internet Society of China and the three major telecom operators in China, that both companies and individuals can apply for domain names, but the person in charge of a website needs to submit a color headshot photo for verification purposes. The circular states that domain name service providers shall review the application materials within 20 working days and issue the registration serial number and access unit to those qualified persons. Meanwhile, they shall make sure that the information of the principal of the website not be disclosed and the application materials be kept confidential.

MIIT required Internet access service providers to set up an on-site verification division by the end of February 2010 and verify the registration information before the end of March for the basic telecom service providers to check in April. MIIT said the authenticity of all registration information will be validated by the end of September 2010.

On December 11, CNNIC enacted a rule which asked for the registration of .CN domain names by individuals to be suspended. Chinese media reports that CNNIC is now drafting regulations to allow individuals to register a .CN domain name. A representative from CNNIC said that the purpose for making the regulation is to retain users and websites while still following the letter of the law.