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Internet Domain Names in China

Articulating Local Control with Global Connectivity
Séverine Arsène
p. 25-34


This article aims at documenting the implementation of the Domain Name System in China, in coordination and in tension with the global Domain Name System since the end of the 1980s with the Chinese country-code top-level domain “.cn,” and more recently with the creation of Chinese-language domain names such as “.中国” and “.中文网.” It puts into perspective the notion of “digital sovereignty” by analysing the role of the DNS in the “localisation” of online content as part of the censorship system. It further shows that although Chinese representatives have always been very critical of the existing architecture and management of the DNS on the global stage, their attitude has evolved from de facto, bottom-up participation and protection of their interests to a more confident and assertive behaviour, as the growth of the Chinese Internet has put them in a more dominant position.

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Bibliographical reference

Séverine Arsène, « Internet Domain Names in China », China Perspectives, 2015/4 | 2015, 25-34.

Electronic reference

Séverine Arsène, « Internet Domain Names in China », China Perspectives [Online], 2015/4 | 2015, Online since 01 January 2017, connection on 22 April 2018. URL :

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About the author

Séverine Arsène

Séverine Arsène is a researcher at CEFC and Chief Editor of China Perspectives,CEFC, 20/F Wanchai Central Building, 89 Lockhart Road, Wanchai,Hong Kong (

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