The world's biggest domain registration company, GoDaddy.com, has said it plans to stop registering domain names in China.
The decision follows the introduction of new government rules requiring people applying to register a name to supply personal data about themselves.
The rules, which came into force in December, require any registrant of a .cn domain name to supply information including a colour head and shoulders photograph. The norm elsewhere is to supply just a name, address, phone number and email address.
Non-Chinese applicants are also barred, with registration companies such as GoDaddy being required to obtain signed registration forms and a Chinese business registration number from customers.
China not only sought this information from new applicants, but from existing domain name holders.
Christine N Jones, general counsel of the Go Daddy Group, told the Washington Postthat China was the first government to retroactively demand this level of documentation.
"The intent of the procedures appeared, to us, to be based on a desire by the Chinese authorities to exercise increased control over the subject matter of domain name registrations by Chinese nationals," she told the Congressional-Executive Commission on China yesterday.
GoDaddy says it will continue to support existing registrations, but will no longer offer new ones with the .cn suffix.