China DNS Server

Without Borders released a report Friday on Internet censorship in China, warning that this situation is getting worse:
Reporters Without Borders today condemned the latest Chinese effort to gag the Internet by means of directives to portals that have discussion groups. As a result of the directives, many news groups have closed since 23 February and filtering of online messages has been stepped up.
The report also highlights the rather disturbing decision of VeriSign to assign China a dedicated root DNS server.
I’m not an expert on Internet architecture, but I think Reporters Without Borders is quite correct to be concerned about this decision. According to, there are currently only 13 root servers globally; VeriSign appears to be planning to add one new server in Korea as well as the China server, which would “sit at the top of the DNS hierarchy in China, handling all .com and .net requests, and pointing top-level domain lookups to their respective servers” according to Computer Business Review Online.
This certainly sounds like it would at a minimum make Internet censorship a lot easier in China (by allowing the Chinese authorities to simply block a site at their root server, rather than having to do so across many lower-level servers). And when you look at the organizations currently running the existing root servers ( VeriSign itself, NASA Ames Research Center, University of Maryland, the Internet Software Consortium, etc.) it is rather jarring to picture adding “Chinese Ministry of Information Industry” to that list. (Yes, the U.S. military already runs a couple, but a) they built it to begin with, and b) Yes, damnit, I’m far more comfortable with our military than I am with China’s “Ministry of Information Industry”.)
Anyone else know more about the architecture involved here, or the previous steps China has taken towards controlling the Internet? Chime in, please…
Update: Here is the official VeriSign press release on the decision. The announcement seems to imply that VeriSign itself would maintain control over the server, stating “The DNS Internet constellation site operated and managed by VeriSign, will contain an authoritative master list of all top-level and country-specific domain names and will provide the first line for resolution services required by Chinese users.”
So does that mean the Chinese government will have no ability to mess with the server? Hard to say. The specific agreement was apparently “a Memorandum of Understanding” signed by the Ministry of Information Industry. One would assume that this agreement would shed significant light on the “who has control” question. Are such documents a matter of public record? And if not, why not?