Operators must submit RSEP for approval.
Are Chinese gateways used to comply with real name verification rules in China a registry service?
To date, it seems like only the operators of .XYZ think so. They submitted a so-called RSEP to ICANN to get approval for their gateway before they introduced one.
Now other registries, including .Club and Radix, have submitted at least one RSEP for such a service at the behest of ICANN. (ICANN has commented. See below.)
It its RSEP, .Club noted:
Club Domains, LLC believes that the service is not a Registry Service because it does not meet the definition of Registry Service under the Registry Agreement, signed between .Club Domains, LLC and ICANN. This is because the service is fundamentally implemented and operated by the Providers – there have been no changes to the Registry Services as defined in the Registry Agreement. It is our position that the use of the Provider to facilitate the Registry Operator’s compliance with local laws does not constitute an additional Registry Service requiring an RSEP However, as an accommodation to ICANN, and in response to ICANN’s request, .Club Domains, LLC is filing this RSEP.
It doesn’t appear that any registries have halted registrations in China while waiting for approval.
An ICANN spokesperson provided this explanation:
The service a registry wants to offer and how it implements the service will determine what, if any, contractual provisions are triggered.
ICANN’s role in evaluating and approving proposed Registry Services and proposed subcontractors providing the service is largely technical, with its evaluation solely focused on ensuring no significant security, stability or competition concerns would be created by approving the service and provider and ensuring the service is consistent with other provisions of the contract between the registry and ICANN.
If the ICANN organization is made aware that a registry may be offering a Registry Service ICANN has not been notified about, the organization will investigate to determine whether the implementation of the service requires notification under the registry’s contract.
This suggests that the request for RSEP might be on a “complaint” basis rather than a new-TLD wide request. I can imagine who might have complained to ICANN…