ICANN has received a request to delegate 中国 and 中國 as country-code top-level domains representing China, to China Internet Network Information Center. ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.
The “CN” ISO 3166-1 code, from which this application’s eligibility derives, is designated for use to represent China.
The two domains under consideration for delegation at the DNS root level are:
In Chinese language, both strings have a meaning equivalent to “China” in English. Their pronunciation in English is transliterated as “Zhongguo”.
In 1990, the .CN domain was delegated to the Chinese Academy of Science, which remains the operator of that domain to this date.
The Chinese Academy of Science established China Internet Network Information Center in 1997 to “take the responsibility of China’s national Internet information center”.
In 2000, the Ministry of Information Industry issued “The Announcement on the Administration of Chinese Domain Name”, which “accredited CNNIC as the sole registry of Chinese domain name”.
On 6 January 2010, review by the IDN Fast Track DNS Stability Panel found that “the applied-for strings associated with the application from [China] (a) present none of the threats to the stability and security of the DNS ... but (b) are variants of each other which, if separately delegated, would present an unacceptably high risk of user confusion.” Following this determination, ICANN staff sought to undertake a review on how these strings may be delegated together.
On 22 March 2010, ICANN announced a “Proposed Implementation Plan for Synchronised IDN ccTLDs”, which would provide for a new concept of “synchronised IDN ccTLDs” that would allow for delegation of multiple labels that are “considered equivalent”, where the delegation of the multiple labels would solve significant problems for Internet users, and the operation of the multiple labels would be expected to be operate in the same way (i.e. resolve with the same data). A public comment period was held to seek feedback on the idea, with this work ongoing.
On 22 April 2010, the ICANN Board of Directors passed a resolution concerning the proposed two strings that read, in part:
Whereas, there is general and wide community support for the notion of simultaneously delegating this particular requested pair of IDN ccTLDs to meet the well understood needs of users of Chinese, namely that users accessing a domain expect that the traditional and simplified Chinese names have been assigned to the same registrant, and that such delegations would solve a significant problem for the user communities;
Whereas, public comment makes it clear that the methodology for operation and management of IDN ccTLDs based on such parallel strings can only be achieved today through operational and administrative procedures, as there are no DNS protocol mechanisms yet that provide the desired behavior, which procedures must be handled by the local IDN ccTLD manager;
Whereas, the delegation of these IDN ccTLDs would be an extension to the current published IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process;
Whereas, the methodology to be taken by the IDN ccTLD manager to handle these particular instances of parallel IDN ccTLDs is, in the short-term, the only option available, but there are serious limits to where such an approach is viable in practice, so that it cannot be viewed as a general solution, and that consequently, long-term development work should be pursued;
Whereas, significant analysis and possibly development work should continue on both policy-based and technical elements of a solution for the introduction on a more general basis of strings containing variants as TLDs;
Therefore, it is RESOLVED, (2010.04.22.10), that CNNIC be notified that the .中国 (xn--fiqs8s) and .中國 (xn--fiqz9s) IDN ccTLD request has completed the Fast Track String Evaluation and that they may enter the String Delegation step in the Fast Track Process, using the standard IANA ccTLD delegation function, and that delegation is contingent on completion of the IANA process criteria and publication of CNNIC's detailed Implementation Plan to be finalized in consultation with ICANN.
On 21 May 2010, China Internet Network Information Center presented an application to ICANN for delegation of “中国” and “中國” as top-level domains.
The proposed sponsoring organisation is China Internet Network Information Center, a registered public institution in China.
The proposed administrative contact is Mao Wei, the Director-General of China Internet Network Information Center. The administrative contact is understood to be based in China.
The proposed technical contact is Lee Xiaodong, the Deputy Director-General and Chief Technology Officer of China Internet Network Information Center.
The strings “中国” and “中國” were deemed eligible for delegation specifically by China Internet Network Information Center by the ICANN Board of Directors through its resolution on 22 April 2010, that “...that [China Internet Network Information Center] may ... [use] the standard IANA ccTLD delegation [process], and that delegation is contingent on completion of the IANA process criteria and publication of [the applicant’s] detailed Implementation Plan to be finalized in consultation with ICANN.”
This report does not consider the resolution’s requirement for publication of an Implementation Plan, and only considers the IANA process criteria.
The Government of the People’s Republic of China is in support of this application, as stated in a letter from Chen Yin, Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on 2 June 2010.
No information has been provided regarding the process which was undertaken to identify the sponsoring organisation as an appropriate operator of the domain. A letter of support has been provided from the Internet Society of China in support of the delegation of the domains to China Internet Network Information Center. The Internet Society of China states it has 400 members comprised of companies, research institutes, academic associations, universities and other organisations.
The proposed sponsoring organisation has a steering committee comprised of representatives from government and academia. It also has “organisational members” from 8 entities including China Telecom, China Mobile, and the Internet Society of China.
The application is consistent with known applicable local laws in China.
The proposed sponsoring organisation undertakes to continue to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.
The proposed sponsoring organisation is constituted in China. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in China. The registry is to be operated in the country.
This application does not involve a transfer of domain operations from an existing domain registry, and therefore stability aspects relating to registry transfer have not been evaluated.
The application is not known to be contested.
China Internet Network Information Center is a non-profit organisation founded in 1997, operated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences under instruction from the Minister of Industry and Information Technology. Its key roles have been operation of the “.CN” top-level domain, providing the National Internet Registry service for IP address allocations in China, performing research on Internet addressing and policy, and conducting statistical surveys on Internet information resources.
The organisation is comprised of over 200 staff, of which 80 engineers work on registration and DNS operations. These staff have experience in domain registry operations through its responsibilities for the .CN top-level domain for over 10 years. They will provide registry access through a system of registrars, using the EPP protocol. The stated SLA for their registry system is 99.9% up-time, with 99.999% up-time for DNS resolution. In the period 2006-2009, they have stated they have achieved 99.95% up-time, with 99.996% up-time for DNS resolution.
The organisation has stated they are intimately involved in the operation of the current country-code top-level domain, and has provided detail on the operational capacity to operate the proposed top-level domains.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is tasked with managing the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with the U.S. Government. This includes managing the delegations of top-level domains.
A subset of top-level domains are designated for the local Internet communities in countries to operate in a way that best suits their local needs. These are known as country-code top-level domains, and are assigned by ICANN to responsible trustees (known as “Sponsoring Organisations”) who meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the trustee has from their local Internet community, their capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and their applicability under any relevant local laws.
Through an ICANN department known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), requests are received for delegating new country-code top-level domains, and redelegating or revoking existing country-code top-level domains. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, when appropriate, the requests are implemented. Decisions on whether to implement requests are made by the ICANN Board of Directors, taking into account ICANN’s core mission of ensuring the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.
The evaluation of eligibility for country-code top-level domains, and of evaluating responsible trustees charged with operating them, is guided by a number of principles. The objective of the assessment is that the action enhances the secure and stable operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems. The evolution of the principles has been documented in “Domain Name System Structure and Delegation” (RFC 1591), “Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation” (ICP-1), and other informational memoranda.
In considering requests to delegate or redelegate country-code top-level domains, input is sought regarding the proposed Sponsoring Organisation, as well as from persons and organisations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated.
The assessment is focussed on the capacity for the proposed sponsoring organisation to meet the following criteria:
To assess these criteria, information is requested from the applicant regarding the proposed sponsoring organisation and method of operation. In summary, a request template is sought specifying the exact details of the delegation being sought in the root zone. In addition, various documentation is sought describing: the views of the local internet community on the application; the competencies and skills of the trustee to operate the domain; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed trustee; and the nature of government support fort he proposal. The view of any current trustee is obtained, and in the event of a redelegation, the transfer plan from the previous sponsoring organisation to the new sponsoring organisation is also assessed with a view to ensuring ongoing stable operation of the domain.
After receiving this documentation and input, it is analysed in relation to existing root zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the proposed sponsoring organisation should the information provided in the original application be deficient. The applicant is given the opportunity to cure any deficiencies before a final assessment is made.
Once all the documentation has been received, various technical checks are performed on the proposed sponsoring organisation’s DNS infrastructure to ensure name servers are properly configured and are able to respond to queries for the top-level domain being requested. Should any anomalies be detected, ICANN staff will work with the applicant to address the issues.
Assuming all issues are resolved, an assessment is compiled providing all relevant details regarding the proposed sponsoring organisation and its suitability to operate the top-level domain being requested. This assessment is submitted to ICANN’s Board of Directors for its determination on whether to proceed with the request.