Internet service providers (ISPs) have played an important role in China's internet regulation regime. This article illustrates how ISPs are governed to serve the government's regulatory goals. This involves examining some of the most extraordinary and profound insights concerning internet governance: the theories of the layers principle, the end-to-end argument and the generative internet. Chinese ISPs have been dependent rather than neutral regulatory intermediaries of the government. Moreover, in addition to telecommunication carriers, the radio and television networks affiliated to the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) are to become a new type of ISP that is capable of choking the free spirit of the internet, as recently demonstrated by the far-reaching policy of “network convergence.” This article argues that the policy has the potential to drastically alter the structure and ecology of the internet in China.