The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has issued new internet regulations which could mean that many overseas web sites will be unavailable to Chinese readers.
MIIT now demands that all domain management companies and internet service providers (ISPs) tighten controls over domain registration as part of the government's anti-pornography campaign.
This means that only licensed businesses and state-approved organisations can register for a web site.
MIIT said that any domain names not registered will not be resolved or transferred, but the organisation did not explain whether this applied to overseas web sites as well.
The Beijing News maintained that it would be a pity if legal foreign web sites could not be accessed if they were not registered, as the internet " is meant to connect people".
Robin Fry, a copyright lawyer at Beachcroft LLP, believes that the pressure would mostly fall on ISPs as most domain names will be registered outside China.
"Inevitably the major international ISPs will have to create ring-fenced subsidiaries locally in the People's Republic of China purely to adhere to these extraordinary requirements and safeguard their other worldwide operations," he said.
Earlier this month the Chinese government banned individuals from registering web sites ending in .cn in an effort to stifle criminal activities on the domain name.
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