World's top domain name service to stop offering Web addresses in China

The move arrives in response to China's new website ownership rules, which require holders of .cn domains to provide their personal information -- including photographs of themselves -- to the Chinese government, according to the company.


GoDaddy.com plans to announce the new policy late Wednesday, at a hearing on Chinese Internet freedoms before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

In its testimony, it is expected to describe China's new rules as threats to the "security of individuals" who use GoDaddy.com's domain name services.

But GoDaddy's decision to cease servicing Chinese Web domains arrives on the heels of another blow to China's Internet economy: the official departure of Google's popular search business from the state.

Google announced Wednesday it would begin phasing out its search services, after an attempt to disregard Chinese censors and redirect users to its unfiltered Hong Kong portal invoked the ire of Beijing's top officials.

Google's move -- which the company first threatened in response to a January 12 cyberattack company executives blame on China -- has refocused lawmakers' attention on China's strict Web content restrictions. Many on Capitol Hill are now calling for hearings and bills that would sanction companies that operate in states with limits on Internet expression, China included.

One lawmaker who supports such a bill -- Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) -- praised GoDaddy's decision to cease its China domain services on Wednesday.

In a statement released before Smith joined the CECC for its China hearing, the congressman said the company, as well as Google, "deserve[s] the U.S. government's support"

"We want to see American IT companies doing the right thing—but we don’t want to see them forced to leave China for doing so," he said. "Now we see that, however well-intentioned, American IT companies are not powerful enough to stand up to repressive governments."