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China Starts/Stops Blocking Google 142

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-they-can dept.
shekared was one of a number of readers to write in to tell a similar story. He says "I'm an American currently living and working in Chongqing, China. As of 9am (UTC +8) China began blocking google.com, gmail.com, google analytics and many if not most other google sites other than google.cn. Internet speed for connections outside the mainland have in general have come to a crawl. Surprisingly this has yet to pick up major coverage in the press. Using an open proxy or VPN for connection to hosts outside of the mainland continues to allow access to google, as does connecting directly to a google.com IP address. As of 6pm (UTC +8) access to gmail and google.com have returned to normal."
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China Starts/Stops Blocking Google

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  • by ls671 (1122017) * on Thursday June 25, 2009 @07:40AM (#28465051) Homepage

    Dear Sir,

    We know who you are, we were just conducting tests and installing tools to enhance your dedicated internet connection.

    Now that you have made this public, could you come to the local authorities station right away so we can settle things up ?

    If you do not come, we will have to go get you at your work place and we would like to avoid this embarrassment for yourself. We also have enabled airport and border checks for yourself so you won't be allowed to leave the country before we meet.

    Regards,
    Liu Cheng
    Security officer,
    Republic of China

    • by francium de neobie (590783) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @07:41AM (#28465069)
      Republic of China is Taiwan, not mainland China.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Canazza (1428553)

        They are both Republic of China, one is the Peoples Republic of China, the other is the Democratic Republic of China. They both call themselves "The Republic of China" internally. The Democratic Republic is normally the one to have the descriptor dropped in the west however.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          What the hell are you talking about? There is no "Democratic Republic of China". It's just the "Republic of China". And mainland China *does* refer to itself as the People's Republic of China internally.
          • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @09:03AM (#28465853) Homepage

            You're correct.

            A Chinese passport says "People's republic of China" (PRC), and a Taiwanese passport says "Republic of China" (ROC)
            Supermarkets in China will often have imported goods under the label "Chinese Taiwan"

            Let's leave the details for diplomats, our government overlords, and deranged Chinese nationalists to squabble over.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              ...deranged Chinese nationalists...

              History has shown that a list of nationalists that aren't deranged would be very short indeed. Nationalism and religion share a very high derangement factor. And that's what makes them both very effective tools in motivating masses of people to do the authoritarian's dirty work for them, with great enthusiasm. It doesn't matter what country they live in. The disease is global.

            • by sych (526355)

              "The Nationalists" usually refers to the KMT - the party that were defeated in the civil war by the communists, and fled to Taiwan.

              To be fair, I think you should refer to the "deranged Chinese Nationalists" AS WELL AS the "deranged Chinese Communists". Please be a little more inclusive. Thank you.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by donscarletti (569232)

          They both call themselves "The Republic of China" internally.

          Internally, the PRC's official name is pronounced: "Zhonghua renmin gongheguo" (sadly /. doesn't seem to work with Chinese characters). That "renmin" bit means "the people", whereas thee other two words mean "China" and "Republic" respectively. In English, they usually just call themselves "China" these days, even in official documents like a Chinese visa, but when they use the full name, they always put the "People's" bit in.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Did you read his SIG...!!!! Probably he lied :-D
  • Slashdot (Score:5, Funny)

    by fenring (1582541) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @07:48AM (#28465135)
    I'm posting from China. At least slashdot still wo
  • I find it interesting that their little "trial run" of blocking Google comes so soon after Bing decides to filter out anything sensitive (you know porn, skeletons, pandas) [pcworld.com] to China. So if we've got on big player playing ball, let the other one know what will happen to them if they don't. Another motive could be a a display of defiance to the West's requests [physorg.com] to stop with all the blocking and blocking software? Maybe it's coincidence, maybe it's many factors.
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @08:33AM (#28465545) Journal
      They already had another big player. Baidu is the largest search engine in China, Google is a relatively minor player in the Chinese market.
    • Sorry for being cynical, but I always get the feeling that if there is something authoritarian to participate in Microsoft is first in line. Examples:
      - Windows DRM
      - Windows Media DRM
      - Zune DRM - incompatible with Windows Media DRM
      - Windows Advantage - when it works
      - Site blocking
      - HDCP
      - Paying Zune royalties to the media industry
      - Others?

      Sure, Microsoft did not come up with all these solut

    • If a foreign government blocked Bing, would anyone even notice?

      And if they did, would it be newsworthy?

      After all, Google is a household word almost everywhere on the planet. Most people think that Bing is a kind of cherry, or a movie star from the '40s.
  • it sounds like a simple case of a misconfigured great wall of china. of course, ill stay tuned for the round-the-clock coverage from CNN on this critical human rights violation.
    • by Aladrin (926209)

      My first thought was 'Yeah, because it can't possibly be a problem with the internet... It has to be China doing something nasty.'

      Hell, the article itself said service came back for some before others... That in itself says that it's probably the net and not China.

      Nothing to see here, move along.

      • Nothing to see here, move along.

        That's what people are afraid will happen.
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @08:35AM (#28465575) Journal
        It also said that connecting to the google.com IP address worked, which implies that the failure was in DNS. I've had my ISP's DNS cache occasionally fail to return results, or return an invalid cached result a few times. Doing it for a site as big as Google is embarrassing, but not unheard of.
        • I've had my ISP's DNS cache occasionally fail to return results, or return an invalid cached result a few times. Doing it for a site as big as Google is embarrassing, but not unheard of.

          It's kinda unusual for it to happen blanket across all DNS's at the same instant, following a critical piece of reportage on Google by the government owned television network (which received a 40bn Yuan advertising revenue gift from arch-rival Baidu shortly before the Google critical piece, and shortly after a critical pie

        • by sych (526355)

          Part of what China's blocking/filtering systems do is to transparently filter all DNS requests. e.g. to block YouTube at the moment, not only do they do IP filtering, but they screw with the DNS. If I try to look up www.youtube.com, I get a totally random, totally different IP address each time. This happens EVEN if point dig/nslookup/resolv.conf to a DNS server outside China... they just transparently filter it and give me a bugus response.

          So a "failure of DNS", as you put it, doesn't necessarily absolve C

      • ...because it can't possibly be a problem with the internet...

        Maybe a Zeppelin dropped a skyhook on one of their cables.

      • by sych (526355)

        Hell, the article itself said service came back for some before others... That in itself says that it's probably the net and not China.

        In my experience (I'm in China), that's not really an indication. The "great firewall" seems to be constructed in various parts, and they don't always do the same things at the same times.

  • Gauging response? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ComputerDruid (1499317) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @07:54AM (#28465191)

    It seems to me that google is one of the sites on the internet that make china's censorship work much more difficult. It's not hard to imagine that they'd like google gone for good. Unfortunately, google is a very real part of a lot of people's lives.

    Is it possible that this (and other similar actions) are attempts to see if they would be able to get away with blocking google for a longer period of time, and not cause a mass uproar?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by zwei2stein (782480)

      Not gauging response. Sending message.

      "We can destroy your business in here on whim. Now, be nice and play by the rules."

      And people wonder why Google turned evil while ago and cooperates with censor-states.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sinbios (852437)

      Google is a real part of YOUR life. Most Chinese haven't even heard of it.

      In any event, google.cn is apparently still available.

  • Local Laws (Score:1, Insightful)

    by CowboyBob500 (580695)
    As an American working in China you should realise that you have forfeit your American rights and are now living under Chinese law. As such the Chinese can block your access to whatever they choose. And, amazingly, they also have the right to block access to services provided by American companies.

    This is not news, nor should it be news. China is a sovereign nation and can do as it pleases within its own borders as long as no international laws are broken; and I'm pretty sure that denying access to Googl
    • Re:Local Laws (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LordKazan (558383) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @08:03AM (#28465253) Homepage Journal

      Yes because obviously he's complaining that "The great evil china is violating my rights".

      No.. it simply stated that china started blocking google. When one of the most censorship happy regimes starts blocking the biggest search provider in the world IT IS NEWS.

      Your rock, go back under it.

    • Re:Local Laws (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fiordhraoi (1097731) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @08:08AM (#28465297)
      Sure, they CAN do as they please. That doesn't mean they're going to make correct/good decisions.

      Saying that something is okay as long as it's not covered by existing international law is saying "do anything you want as long as the rest of us haven't thought of it yet." Indeed, international law barely exists - at core it's nothing more than the various treaties and agreements between states. It tends to have very little to do with individuals. There is no international Congress that can pass a law that affects all nations - don't even get me started on the UN (or as I've taken to calling it lately, the League of United Nations).

      If China wanted to execute all couples who had more than two children, they could do so. It wouldn't be against any international law. Does that make it right? Does that mean humanitarian organizations should back off and shut up? Hell no.

      Being a sovereign nation gives you the ABILITY (not the right) to do as you wish in many circumstances. It sure as hell doesn't give a "Mandate of Heaven" that says all your decisions will be correct and good for people.

      Sure, censoring Google may seem like a small thing, but compare it to the censorship that still exists regarding things like the Tiananmen square massacre - or as it's euphemized in China, the "June 4th incident." It's still a completely forbidden topic in media and print. That's the kind of BS that overarching censorship can lead to.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by CowboyBob500 (580695)
        Sure, they CAN do as they please. That doesn't mean they're going to make correct/good decisions.

        Correct or good decisions for whom? You as an American?
        • Re:Local Laws (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @08:40AM (#28465619) Journal

          Correct or good decisions for whom? You as an American?

          Yes, him as an American, or me as a Brit. Or you as a... whatever you are. Us, collectively, as people with subjective ethical systems. Being aware of certain types of behaviour[1] allows us to make judgements on whether these countries are, collectively, following an ethical system we regard as compatible with our own. If they are not, then we have the option of not visiting them, not doing business with them or (in extreme cases) supporting rebellions in these countries. Making ethical decisions is a large part of what being human entails. If you are not comfortable with it, then pick a mass media outlet to make these determinations for you; it's easier than thinking.

          [1] In this case, it sounds like someone just messed up with a DNS cache configuration, rather than doing anything malicious, but let's talk hypotheticals for a bit.

          • I'm not necessarily disagreeing (though I'm not sure that supporting rebellions can ever be ethical), I'm just playing Devil's Advocate on the grounds that there seem to be a lot of stories on here that seem to be along the lines of "[insert country] doesn't do things the way the US does, so lets all criticise" when there are a lot of things that need to be fixed in their own back yard first.

            For example:-
            • Britain - Surveillance society (*cough* Echelon *cough*)
            • Iran - Fixed elections (oh the irony)
            • France
            • Britain - Surveillance society (*cough* Echelon *cough*)

              Are you seriously suggesting that no brits are criticizing this?

              EU - Fines US companies for breaking EU law (oh noes)

              Technically, it was EU departments of an US company that got fined. EU cannot fine a US company. And why should a company be exempt from laws just because their mother firm resides in another country?

              I'm British BTW, and getting tired of all the rhetoric and hypocrisy

              Heh.

              • Are you seriously suggesting that no brits are criticizing this?

                Not at all. Just that its our business and our problem to sort out.
        • Actually, in this particular case, for the Chinese people as a whole. In fact, if China suddenly went through another cultural revolution of sorts, tossed censorship and government control of private lives out the window, and got some sort of system in place that manged to balance individual rights and national progress, their economy could REALLY take off. Sure, they're a huge economy, but they also have four times as many people as the USA and has about a fourth of the USA's GDP. China beginning to per
      • I have great respect for America's determination to protect freedom and free speech. That word means a lot to you, as it does to me.

        But wait, before you call it a Tiananmen square "massacre" - do you consider that ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND [iraqbodycount.org] people are now dead in Iraq. Last week, a drone killed 140 people in Afganistan, mostly innocents.

        So, as opposed to thousands of their own people killed by the Chinese, you went to another country and killed much much more.

        I am not saying it is worse; just saying that taking a

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by fiordhraoi (1097731)
          Well, first off, a large number of those 100k dead aren't due to US bombing/gunfire/etc. I haven't scoured the site for exact numbers, so I can't give you hard percentages and so on. In fact, so far in 2009, more people are being killed per day in suicide attacks than with gunfire/executions. I know you didn't explicitly say they were all due to the US, but it was implied.

          Second, there's a moral difference between shooting at someone intending to kill them and someone getting caught in the crossfire du

    • Re:Local Laws (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @09:39AM (#28466297) Journal
      China is a sovereign nation and can do as it pleases within its own borders as long as no international laws are broken;
      Trade restriction. And EU is bringing that up to UN. Just like America did recently about CHina restricting EXPORTS of Steel making minerals. China is cheating all the way to the bank, and the west either needs to crack down on China, or better yet, SLOWLY raise similar barriers. For example, slowly drop the dollar and Euro against the Yuan on imports. That will encourage China to free their money. Likewise, if China does not drop their trade barriers like they agreed to do by 2002, then we should slowly and methodically raise ours.
      • by number17 (952777)
        Free trade is a concept that started to grow in the 90's. Much of the world continues to have barriers for selected industries. The UN and WTO have no teeth. Take for instance the lumber dispute between Canada and the US. Protectionism by the US was declared unfair by the WTO years ago and yet still goes on to this day.

        If the US puts up barriers it will hurt domestic companies. Remember that a lot of the products imported are made by US companies in China, not Chinese products made by Chinese compan
        • The problem is that for this to work, it has to be 2-way trade with money that adjusts FREELY. And with China, it is NEVER 2 way.

          As to the economy, that is why I said to raise barriers SLOWLY. Give China time to do the right thing (free their money and drop trade barriers). It is far better to have full 2 way trade, then not. If they do not do the right thing, then slowly basic manufacturing will return to the west.

          As to the softwood issue, that is not a big deal. I am guessing that Canada will do the co
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by LostInTaiwan (837924)

          Free trade with nations that are not free is call exploitation. It's collusion between an authoritarian government exploiting its silenced population and the merchants exploiting the ignorance of their consumers. Authoritarian governments rule by force and it's naive to think that there will not be a corresponding rise in military prowess with every net inflow of economic dollar, yet we continues to feed countries like China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia as if freedom is indeed free. One day, we are all goi

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by furby076 (1461805)
      Anyhow - your statement looks, hmm "canned"...blink twice if you were forced to write that message ;)

      No, really. I find no fault in your words. It sucks that China does this but it is their choice. Denying people access to Google is not a crime in the international courts. People may not like it but gov't doesn't always make choices that people like. OT: I particularly enjoyed how the mod trolls moded you as troll. If i had mod points I'd give you a point UP. Unfortunately I used it all yesterday

      Hey
  • I have a great idea! Let's show our support for Democracy and condemn the actions of the fascist dicatorship with a big shopping spree at Walmart. Maybe if we give these guys 500 billion dollars a year, they will be nice to us and freedom will reign and shower everyone with joy!

    • by El Torico (732160) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @08:28AM (#28465487)

      The sad part is that few care enough about Democracy, Liberty, and Freedom (add Western Liberal Tradition Value here) to pay higher prices for non-Chinese (or other Slave State) products. Of course, many care enough to endure hardship and risk life and limb in Iraq and Afghanistan to promote those same values (as they genuinely believe). Strange, isn't it?

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @08:42AM (#28465651) Journal
        I wish people would stop lumping democracy in with liberty and freedom. Liberty and freedom are goals, democracy is a tool for obtaining that goal. It is not universally useful. By elevating democracy to a goal in and of itself, you harm the causes of liberty and freedom.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by El Torico (732160)

          I don't see where Authoritarian or Anarchism ever effectively promoted Liberty, Freedom, or any other Liberal Western value. Authoritarian states always limit or deny these ideals and Anarchist states always fail to defend the citizenry against outside aggression.

          • by Sinbios (852437)

            What is the deal with you and Liberal Western values? Are you suggesting that the whole world should adopt the same values as their own?

            • by El Torico (732160)

              I don't advocate "regime change" through outside force as a normal practice. The whole world would probably be happier if it did adopt Liberty, Rule of Law, Representative Government, etc. These aren't exclusively Western ideals or ideas, nor should only Westerners be the only ones to benefit.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Have you tried to buy non-Chinese products lately? I have, when purchasing power tools and hand tools. So far, I'm 2 for 5 at finding the right product IN ANY PRICE RANGE that's not marked "Made in China." The metal Vise-Grips were made in the USA and the hedge shears were made in Mexico, with parts from Taiwan and Vietnam. The corded electric drills were all from China. The routers were all from China, except one professional-grade model far beyond what I needed. The wet-dry vacs were all made in Chi

      • by dwater (72834)

        > to pay higher prices for non-Chinese products

        No one wants their Apple stuff to be even more expensive that it already is, thank you very much!

        NB, not all Chinese products are cheap and/or poor quality; it's all a matter of quality control and demand.

    • Funny thing is, that there are more Western made products at Wally world these days, though Target remains a front-end for China (little there is NOT made in china). What is funny is that I have noticed that generics at places like King Soopers and safeway is being made In America, Mexico and Canada. Perhaps America can get the trade imbalance back into shape. My guess is that if oil continues upwards slowly, we will see more items move back to the west, and more trade by countries that are close.
    • And of course, walmart itself is a fascist dictatorship if you think about it. A rather hostile fascist dictatorship that economically destroys local small businesses, lowers overall GDP of the area, and subverts nations' economic control. IMO it is worse than China, it's like early stages of the soviet union but without communism.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jc42 (318812)

        walmart itself is a fascist dictatorship if you think about it.

        Close, as various people have pointed out that it satisfies one of the primary features of fascism: The close ties between the business and your local government. (Yes, people in the US do mostly use "fascist" as an epithet that's empty of meaning, but the term has a historic definition. Close ties between government and business is one of the important pieces of that definition. Use of patriotism and religion rather than logic or science are t

  • Google analytics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ickleberry (864871)
    I'd block them too. In fact the practice of blocking google analytics isn't unheard of at all outside of China. It only wastes bandwidth and google/site owners have too much information on your surfing habits already. All these statistics/advertising things just slow shit down and don't really do anything for you.
    • by LordKazan (558383)

      the difference is usually it's the user blocking them outside of china via adblock or whatever

  • my experiences... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cies (318343) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @08:01AM (#28465241)

    im traveling in china for the last 6 weeks and the state of internet connections here is very random.

    domestic sites, like the immensely popular QQ and baidu, are always _very_ responsive.

    google sometimes gets a slow down to the extend that it is nearly unusable (that really help people here to move over to the super fast and slightly more chineese friendly baidu).

    the main thing is the randomness, if it is connectivity/ congestion issues, or some conspiracy: no-one knows.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      After living in China for a while, I got the distinct impression that there was the "Great Wall" as well as local level monitoring and filtering (at least for foreigners). A couple doors down, there were always random people coming in and out of one of the apartments, and it would get quiet when my internet was being used. I had trouble accessing some sites, so one night I set everything up with encryption and Tor. The next morning, all of them were extremely distressed-looking and bleary eyed (the first ti
    • by Malc (1751)

      I lived in Shanghai last year. It's definitely the randomness that's the killer. Some sites would work for me at home, but not in the office, and vice versa. Some sites would be responsive, but then grind to a halt. Latency to sites outside of China was variable, and often incredibly high. Packet loss sometimes became high enough to make some sites inaccessible. I ended up installing Squid on a machine on our corporate network in California and then accessed it over the VPN (which also seems to be mor

      • by sych (526355)

        My personal opinion is that the randomness is a tool to coax people into changing their behaviour. If you find that some foreign site is frequently unreliable, you'll change to another one (possibly domestic) that is more reliable.

  • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @08:10AM (#28465313)

    They just changed something.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What people in China don' t know is that the content crossing the firewall is entirely simulated. The rest of the world is an illusion created by The Machines to keep them docile, when in reality most of Earth is a barren wasteland. Quite why The Machines kept this last enclave humans alive and constructed an elaborate fantasy world so that they could spend a significant proportion of their industrial capacity producing plastic crap [theonion.com] for the illusory West is anyone's guess.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    International connections slow to a crawl on any politically sensitive event(most likely green dam filtering in this case). Any major news source that carries said political news(say hello google news) will slow down to a crawl, or not load at all. The major news doesn't carry this because it happens at least a half dozen times a year....

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Give them a week with no google, no gmail, no google maps, and see what kind of reaction the chinese government gets. Then say they can have their google back when they agree to stop blocking it.

    • This is not a good idea: imagine what happens when they discover that life can be better and more productive when they do not waste their time with google services...

    • BIG MISTAKE (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WindBourne (631190)
      Chinese Govt WANTS that. They are busy pushing Baidu, and about to push Baidu into western world. Right now, Baidu controls ~65% of chinese search, while Google is only ~25%. The reason is that Chinese gov PUSHES Baidu and creates rules to help them. For example, Baidu copied Google's 'Im feeling Lucky', so the gov told Google to no longer allow it because it was leading to too many porn sites, but did not do the same on Baidu. What was interesting is that a study was done, it showed that Baidu had either t
    • by cyfer2000 (548592)
      Chinese don't care. Google is only a small player in China. Baidu, QQ are the real thing.
  • Is it possible they're merely testing to see if they can pull a full-scale blockade of Internet communications, if they ever have the need? I know if I was running a tyrannical government, I'd be looking to avoid the problems that Iran's government is having. You can't block them after things go bad, but if you do it *quietly* shortly before, you might have a better chance. Possibly.
  • by Yogiz (1123127)

    20$ on China being the first country in the 21st century to make encryption illegal. Things are only going to be worse, not better.

  • I mean, going by the median they apparantly just can't get pissed off when somebody treats them like trash.
    • by Random2 (1412773)
      It's known as maturity....
      • by russotto (537200)

        I mean, going by the median they apparantly just can't get pissed off when somebody treats them like trash.

        It's known as maturity....

        I've long thought that "maturity" was typically used to mean "willingness to knuckle under". Thanks for confirming that.

  • making google unreliable is a subtle argument for chinese citizens to depend upon chinese competitors to google, such as baidu

    http://www.baidu.com/ [baidu.com]

    does the outlay of that page look familiar to you?

    for example, if my gmail account in china is unreliable- due to no fault of google, but unreliable nonetheless, that means i would tend to use some other email provider for that vital service. for baidu, all you have to do is have a fellow nationalist stooge in the government hit the flicker switch on google's traffic every now and then. since china is filtering everything anyway via centralized national authority, that's not hard to arrange

    its a subtle and effective form of protectionism, something which the usa and other trading partners of china have noticed a severe uptick of recently, due to the global economic climate. which is especially hypocritical, since china, as a major exporter, is always complaining about protectionism

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/business/economy/24yuan.html [nytimes.com]

    HONG KONG -- China has begun a concerted effort to keep its export economy humming, even as demand for its goods has plummeted with the global downturn.

    Risking the ire of the United States and other trading partners, the Chinese government has quietly started adopting policies aimed at encouraging exports while curbing imports, even though China, as one of the world's largest exporters, has aggressively criticized protectionism in other countries.

    The government has sharply expanded three programs to help exporters, giving them larger tax rebates, more generous loans from state-owned banks to finance trade, and more government-paid travel to promote themselves at trade shows around the world.

    At the same time, Beijing has banned all local, provincial and national government agencies from buying imported goods except in cases where no local substitute exists.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      making google unreliable is a subtle argument for chinese citizens to depend upon chinese competitors to google, such as baidu
       

      I don't think google has ever been a big hit in China in the first place. There're differences on how they're being used: http://searchengineland.com/chinese-eye-tracking-study-baidu-vs-google-11477

    • by number17 (952777)

      its a subtle and effective form of protectionism

      If a company, such as baidu, pays the government for this "flicker" service, is it still called protectionism? I would rather call it capitalistic. The government is merely opening up its doors to different streams of revenue. I wouldn't be surprised if other Chinese companies have been hurt with similar tactics.

      • that's cronyism, corruption, nepotism, protectionism

        capitalism implies the notion of fair competition. manipulations of the system, like the three issues above, or monopolies, impede capitalism, they don't enhance it. of course these manipulations can develop organically out of a capitalist system. well, a dictatorship can develop out of a democracy organically too, but that doesn't mean a dictatorship is part of a democracy. it means that systems can devolve and morph over time into something else, a devel

  • If the IP works, then routing to the Google servers obviously works. It sounds like an intermittent nameserver problem. China's DNS servers are having difficulty resolving names in a reasonable time. There could be any number of reasons for this, it's not necessarily that China is blocking Google.
    • by sych (526355)

      China's blocking system also includes manipulating DNS. Chinese DNS servers currently return toally random IP addresses for www.youtube.com; and queries to non-Chinese DNS servers are transparently proxied and altered with the same effect. I haven't seen a case of DNS being blocked without a corresponding IP block, but it's certainly do-able. I don't think just saying "but the IPs aren't blocked, it's only a DNS problem!" doesn't mean it's not the gov't doing it.

  • DNS issue (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tekniq (1585039)
    How do you know it is not a DNS issue from your ISP? You can still access it through IP, don't you. If it is filtering, I doubt it can still working that way. Because it is in China, so any technical issue must be government doing evil.
  • Surprisingly this has yet to pick up major coverage in the press.

    The BBC is covering it here [bbc.co.uk], and adds that China has accused Google of spreading pornography. This comes as China is requiring all new computers to come with "Green Dam" filtering software.

  • Thats funny, so just use alternate DNS servers and you are home free.

    Pretty lame if you ask me.

    • by sych (526355)

      China transparently redirects/alters DNS requests to non-Chinese DNS servers.

  • ZH connections (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'm posting this from China.

    Google was off and on all today. Youtube is still blocked, 1 or 2 months since the last /. article about it, thought one proxy easily deals with the issue.

    Other random factoids of note from a Chinese computer (not from a hotel; they use different censorship deals for Hotels than private residences).

    The New York Times site is fully functional
    Wikipedia works on everything except articles specifically talking about Chinese badstuff (IE you can visit the Chinese page, the PRC page, n

  • Thought Police (Score:2, Insightful)

    by omegahelix (1536923)

    When are they going to learn that the flow of information can't be stopped?

    Shame on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft if they continue to bow down to the dictators so they can make money in China!

  • Why doesn't anybody suggest the obvious first guess, the reporting guy had a local dns problem, either his office or his provider accidentally misconfigured something.

    Doesnt have to be this of course but I usually assume that the risk for human errors are larger the lower in the food chain you go, and the redundancies also are fewer, so instead of assuming all of China lost google, why not start by digging and looking around how spread the issue is first?

    In 90% of all cases you find the problem in the first

  • The Chinese governments approach to internet censorship is hardly random, but a heavy handed approach meant to blind just those citizens who aren't savvy enough to get around "The Great Firewall." Many of the other foreigners and even Chinese I know do not bother to employ VPN or proxy setups unless the government is currently blocking certain content or specific domains they are interested in (ie. youtube since March). Keyword based filtering, blocking entire netblocks, domain names, and messing with DNS
  • http://www.internetfreedom.org/Products-and-Services [internetfreedom.org]
    ^ Above software packages are free for Chinese & Iranian citizens.
  • Surprisingly this has yet to pick up major coverage in the press.

    Major coverage? In mainstream press? When Michael Jackson has just died?

    Not that I am a great fan, but let's face it, a lot more people know and care about MJ than about whether China blocks one or more aspects of Google. And even without big news stories and things happening in the world, a story about a minor, technical upset in a foreign country is hardly Earth shattering any way.

    As for the poor Chinese, who can now no longer access Google's mixture of real search results with undisclosed, sponsored ones

  • "China Starts/Stops Blocking Google"

    "China briefly blocks Google" would've done. Honestly, the quality of English in Slashdot stories these days is deteriorating below 5th grade.

New crypt. See /usr/news/crypt.

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