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Censorship China Google The Internet Politics

China Blocks Google.com, Gmail, Maps and More During 18th Party Congress 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the information-wants-to-be-free-except-during-elections dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "In an extraordinary move, the Chinese authorities have blocked access to Google.com, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, and many more Google services as the Communist Party of China holds the 18th Party Congress. The blocking of these sites was reported by Chinese web monitoring site GreatFire.org, which said, 'Never before have so many people been affected by a decision to block a website.' The latest move in a long line of disputes between the Chinese government and Google, it is unclear yet whether this denial will be temporary (like a similar one in 2010) or permanent."
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China Blocks Google.com, Gmail, Maps and More During 18th Party Congress

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  • by swschrad (312009) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:51PM (#41934343) Homepage Journal

    it will be really good for business as the chinese people become more and more backward, thanks to the gutless dictators in the communist party.

  • Pretty Conventional (Score:5, Informative)

    by explosivejared (1186049) * <hagan.jared@NosPam.gmail.com> on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:51PM (#41934345)
    Ratcheting up Internet restrictions is the norm during times like this. Expect VPN's in-country to also be strangely slower.

    What's interesting to me are the new unconventional methods of restraint [chinadigitaltimes.net] China always seems to be a pioneer in. It seems protesters throwing leaflets out of taxi cabs is a growing fear, so taxis are restricted in being able to travel around Tiananmen and will their windows locked, with some having control handles removed altogether.

    I was present in China during the Arab Spring, when it was feared protest would spread. Any mention of a meetup place for protesters would all of a sudden shoot up the priority list for construction repairs. Many areas were cordoned off with armadas of street sweet sweepers.

    Paranoia is an extremely inefficient use of ingenuity.
    • by CRCulver (715279)

      Any mention of a meetup place for protesters would all of a sudden shoot up the priority list for construction repairs. Many areas were cordoned off with armadas of street sweet sweepers.

      Reminds me of two anecdotes:

      1. The World Rainbow Gathering (a hippie event) was held on Hainan Island in 2008. The authorities had no problem allowing a couple of thousand foreigners to hang out in the forest, discreetly smoke, and live out their utopian society. Just one rule, though: no Chinese citizens were allowed in, b
    • by balsy2001 (941953)
      I use VPN full time in china and my internet has gotten faster than usual the last couple of days. Maybe it will be worse next week.
      • by rgbe (310525)

        What vpn provider do you use? We are on holiday in china and use things like googlemaps, gmail, tourist guides that use google maps. It is very frustrating. Even the android app store is not working (play.google.com). I have tried many vpn providers but they all appear blocked, tor dors not work either.

        • by xaxa (988988)

          I'm on holiday in China, and have been very frustrated with the slow, filtered web.

          I've been SSHing to a machine at work, and using a dynamic SOCKS proxy through it (ssh -D 3128 ..., then set the SOCKS proxy in Firefox/etc to port 3128). I use Baidu for anything where the Chinese web should be just as good, e.g. weather forecasts.

        • by balsy2001 (941953)
          Sorry for the late reply. I use Astrill. I know people who use Strong and HMA with the same type of success.
  • Google China (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Synerg1y (2169962) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:52PM (#41934351)

    If China doesn't want to have open communication with the rest of the world, oh well. The internet isn't for everybody, however I've got to ask where are the Chinese people in all this if they truly care?

    • Re:Google China (Score:5, Informative)

      by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday November 09, 2012 @03:07PM (#41934527)

      If China doesn't want to have open communication with the rest of the world, oh well. The internet isn't for everybody, however I've got to ask where are the Chinese people in all this if they truly care?

      The ones who actually do something are either in the ground, in prison, or at the business end of an AK-47 in a "fun-time all-day (and all-night) exercise party" in fields or factories, or, if lucky, simple unemployed. The ones who care but don't do anything are, well, not doing anything, for fear of ending up in the first group. That's why Internet access is useful, it allows them to speak out with less fear of getting caught.

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        I think you mean Type 56. China does not use the AK line, they have their own copies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I am not living in China, But I am a chinese and a member of the communist party. I think it is suck. I do not understand what are we fear for ?

    • Re:Google China (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday November 09, 2012 @04:01PM (#41935021)

      I've got to ask where are the Chinese people in all this if they truly care?

      The Chinese are no different from anyone else. They are happy to tolerate authoritarianism as long as the authorities deliver the economic goods, and the CCP has been extremely successful at that (greater than 10% annual growth for 30 years straight). It is no different anywhere else. The Arab Spring was not about democracy, it was about economic stagnation.

      Until the Chinese economy has a major recession (which it will eventually), the CCP has nothing to worry about.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        They are happy to tolerate authoritarianism

        Fear is a great motivator too.

        • Fear is a great motivator too.

          Get some perspective. As an American you are four times more likely to be arrested and imprisoned by your government than a Chinese citizen. I have seen little evidence that Chinese people fear their government. I have seen plenty of hot and loud political arguments in restaurants, on the subway, etc. Unless you are an overt troublemaker, nobody cares.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Get some perspective. As an American you are four times more likely to be arrested and imprisoned by your government than a Chinese citizen

            As a Chinaman you are ten times more likely to be executed by your government. When they kill you they take you away in a van and your family never sees your body again. Many have speculated that this is so that they can break you down for your organs, which have signifcant resale value. Look up "chinese death van", and "black market organs" and read, read, read until you stop saying anything this dumb.

    • by Ltap (1572175)
      The same could be applied to the United States and its own blocking provisions. The only difference is that the USA rules the rest of the world through fear and imperialist aggression, so I suppose you might understandably mistake it for the rest of the world entirely.
  • by Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:55PM (#41934375)

    "The Chinese 18th Party Congress was cancelled after attendees were unable to find where it was located without using Google Maps."

  • Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Slutticus (1237534) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:55PM (#41934383)
    Now let these companies stand strong, don't budge, and the people will become restless, they will become angry, and they will revolt against their government. Irony. The thing they are trying to prevent will cause a spark that will lead to their downfall.
    • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by explosivejared (1186049) * <hagan.jared@NosPam.gmail.com> on Friday November 09, 2012 @03:01PM (#41934461)
      Yeah, probably not, at least not in any predictable way. There are a million things that popular opinion and unrest within China make more likely to be reformed: the Hukou system, land distribution, criminal justice, etc. Single party rule and stringent censorship just don't motivate the Chinese like westerners constantly tell them that it should. I'm of the opinion all of this is a tremendous waste, but I don't expect any majority of the Chinese public to agree with me any time soon.
      • Agreed. Not to mention that many of the google services do have alternatives. There will be a hardcore of people getting pissy, but how much will the average person on the street care about restricted access to google and its products?

        There are other providers of maps, email and search, people will move to alternative (probably inferior and state backed) services and then continue with their lives.

      • I was just feeling very hyperbolic at that moment. But any little thing added to the pile will help people pay attention, and dammit, people like their googling.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Aren't they all using Baidu anyway?

  • Extraordinary. You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means. In fact, the more you use it, the more ordinary it becomes. Google has been blocked before — you even say so in the summary. China blocks major western properties it considers disruptives during important national events (like the party congress, or the Olympics) when sentiments are running high and adrenaline is pumping to minimize the chances of an incident that could endanger lives or detract from the party mes
  • In China gathering immense amounts of intrusive personal data about people is a governmental monopoly.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @04:08PM (#41935089)

      I am in China now. Guangdong province.
      Slashdot is not blocked.
      google doesn't work 90% of the time and is horribly horribly slow even though the google Hong Kong server is only a few hours away by boat. The web browser keeps throwing errors about invalid compression and it stops loading the page after waiting about 5 mins.. Gmail is working off and on. The more you use google and Gmail, the slower and less reliable they get to the point where I have to use Bing or taobao instead and a mail client because Gmail sits there for 30 mins with a progress bar and connectivity problems while trying to load my inbox. Gmail's imap works well in that i canMeventually send and receive mail if i wait long enough. My OpenVPN to my home PC in the states works well for about 5 mins and then drops to 5KB/sec and stays there unless i get a new ip from my isp.

      I use reader on my tablet to get news via rss and the google proxy for that is almost always broken with messages about the google server having an error or the server timed out. It's very frustrating.

      Bing works very well here. It is much faster than baidu and it is never broken like google.

      • by BeShaMo (996745)
        I'm currently in Beijing and yeah, Google always works less than optimal when you go to .com and even .hk, but I found that google.co.uk works better (and works today.) My VPN (that I set up on a VPS in Tokyo) stopped working yesterday though :(
  • Is this regional, or nationwide? There's a lack of understanding in the western media about the Great Firewall. They treat it like a monolithic linksys router with which daddy can turn services on and off.

    Control / censorship of the Internet in China is at the very least city by city, and probably ISP by ISP. The conversation we are having here is stupid bordering on moronic.

  • I lived and worked in China for years. Baidu is fine for Chinese searches(98% is non tech searches) but if a person is doing technology searches Baidu sucks. I can understand the reasons for blocking gmail and other interactive communication, but blocking tech searches on Google will only harm the advancement of technology.
    If the ISP knows that a is the primary user, they usually are not as strict, But you have to go to the ISP office to complain.
  • ... government searches you!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone else see the awkwardness between the #1 location for manufacturing computers, and internet capable devices, blocking the #1 first-stop (and probably one of the largest destinations as well) on the internet?

    How have we allowed ourselves, as a world, to get into a position where China builds, literally, everything electronic these days?

    What we going to do if/when they decide to go into lock-down mode due to governmental decision, or revolt? Taiwan isn't a fall back any longer because many manufac

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