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China’s Unprecedented Internet Mishap Due to Malfunction of Domain Name Root Servers

On January 21, at around 15:20, China’s entire top-level domain name root servers (DNS) malfunctioned, leaving two-thirds of China’s websites inaccessible and “causing severe damage to China’s Internet.” 

Internet users found themselves re-directed to IP [a U.S. website]. The malfunction lasted until 18:30 when visits to most of the .com websites had been restored. 
The state-run China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) earlier said in a microblog post that the incident was due to a malfunction in China’s top-level domain name root servers and that the incident had no impact on .cn which functioned properly throughout the incident. 
Nanfang Daily, January 22, 2014 
Xinhua, January 22, 2014