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Company shuts down Neo-Nazi website with .cn domain after being unknowingly exploited in wake of Buffalo shooting

Law enforcement officials are seen at the scene of a mass shooting at Tops Friendly Market at Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street on May 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. Photo: VCG

 The company responsible for the proxy registration of a website, which has been an influence to the Buffalo shooter and was previously found to have a .cn domain name, told the Global Times that the domain name resolution and account for the site had been shut down after learning it was unknowingly exploited. 

The company stressed that it was not aware of the content or nature of the site at the time the domain name was registered.

“Daily Stormer” is a website that the world-shaking Buffalo shooting’s perpetrator Payton Gendron claimed had a strong influence on him. The website surprisingly had a .cn country code domain, which led some in the media and the public to accuse China of being involved in the incident and even “supporting the American far right and neo-Nazism.”

Such accusations turned out to be completely false. 

The website was created by notorious American neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin in April through a Guangdong-based proxy company, Naisi Zhihui Technology, the Global Times has discovered, while the company had completely no knowledge of the website’s content. 

“We take this matter very seriously and have shut down its domain name and account overnight,” the head of the company told the Global Times on Tuesday, stressing that the company was not aware of the nature of the website at the time of registration.

“The owner of the website [Daily Stormer] only filled in the basic registration information when registering the domain name, and then obtained the domain name through a domain name affiliation,” Naisi Zhihui Technology explained.

Staff from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) told the Global Times on Tuesday that the domain name of the neo-Nazi website had indeed been shut down. As for some people reporting that the site is still accessible, the staff said it may be due to DNS caching.

The Global Times also learned that the website has not been under government’s content review.

The Daily Stormer did not need to acquire ICP filing like domestic websites in China or face review of its content when registering a domain name since the servers and IP addresses of the website were located overseas, CNNIC told the Global Times on Monday. 

Public information shows that Daily Stormer was initially register in the US in 2017. After it was blocked by US service providers, its owner Andrew Anglin has approached domain name providers in Russia, Albania, Austria and Iceland among other countries to get a local country domain, but his requests were all refused one after another. Not a month ago, he took the notorious site to the Chinese Internet and escaped content review.