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CNNIC deprives people of the right to use Chinese language?

China, Sohu.com, 4 November 2000 -- According to the report "CNNIC launches registration service for domain names in full Chinese language", the chief of CNNIC's work committee cum vice-chairman of China Science Society Mr Hu Qiheng said, "A few foreign firms have preemptively launched the Chinese domain name registration service. We hold the view that with 97.5% of Chinese net-users concentrated on Chinese shores, the American government has no right to commission any unit in governance of domain names in Chinese. To provide Chinese domain name registration service within China without permission from the Chinese government is impossible. Local authorities have approached ICANN in protest; for the Chinese domain name is not merely a different entity from an ASCII domain name- it also encompasses the cultural and historical aspects of our nation. China shall fight to participate in the standardization process for the Chinese domain name system, and I personally think we have sufficient reason to be successful."

I think Mr Hu's stand deprives overseas Chinese of their basic rights to use the Chinese language. America is an immigrant nation where languages from all over the world can be and are in use. There isn't an official language in America, English is widely used because of reasons historical and population proportion-related. Besides English and Spanish, the Chinese language is the third most widely used language in America; its usage spanning from official governmental documents, private commercial correspondence to personal day-to-day communication. Ever since the proliferation of the Internet, the number of users setting up websites in Chinese language has been on an increase; in fact Chinese websites in America have been in existence for years before the heat caught on in China. Thus in keeping to what Mr Hu says, would I have to travel to China to register for a Chinese domain name to set up a Chinese website in America? Supposing that I would like to set up a company in America to host services in Chinese, would I have to register with China's MII? In short, do I still possess the basic rights to use the Chinese language?

Should what Mr Hu had said be institutionalized, America (or other non-Chinese speaking countries) would not have the rights to set up a unit in charge of Chinese domain names. Working on the same logic, China should thus not have the rights to set up a unit in charge of domain names in non-Chinese languages like English, Spanish, French, Japanese and Korean etc. On top of that, should the people and enterprises of China use the English language in America, they should seek permission from the American government or be guilty as charged.

If that is the case, what has the world come to? A world split by online usage of diverse languages, the Internet would lose its original intention of globalization. Language should know no boundaries; anyone from any nation should retain the basic rights to use a language other than his mother tongue. Even American Caucasians reserve the rights to understand Chinese culture, and to learn to use the Chinese language; not to mention Chinese Americans. It should not be forgotten that China is now a member of the Human Rights Association. To restrict the freedom of choice of language used by people is in violation of the laws of nations and human rights. The restriction of Chinese usage in America would not only hinder its people from understanding Chinese culture; but also adversely affect the friendly relationship between the Chinese and American people.

Besides, security is not to be found in the choice of domain name language, but in the design of linkage facilities, modes and the relevant hard or software. For example, Renmin.com [???] links itself to the Internet, the plane of linkage is not China but on a global scale. Thus, no matter what language system Renmin.com has chosen to use it remains that an International-level server (for example, the ones stationed in America or Japan) would be needed to resolve domain names. In order to bypass these International servers to preserve security, Renmin.com must be equipped with a regional structure (limited to usage in China) for linkage and domain naming. The security of Renmin.com lies in such technical linkage, and has nothing to do with the choice of language used. Should China want to assume the rights to domain name resolution, she should do so through advancement in Internet technology. The issue of language choice not only resolves nothing, but had also highlighted immaturity and helplessness.

Be it from national or international perspective, or from a technology standing, the imposition of CNNIC's regulation on Chinese language usage is illegal and unreasonable. As such, I suggest China's authorities to consider CNNIC's proposal; and if necessary open the discussion to the public through Renmin.com where the proposed domain name management system can be revised or even nullified so as to make space for one which conforms to constitutional, international and technological protocol. In the process, let it not be forgotten that it is not only just the people of China who uses the Chinese language, people in the world does too.

-- i-DNS.net shall not be held liable for the views and opinions of the authors expressed herein.
-- Translated Article
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