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[liberationtech] China just blocked Google.com
greatfire at greatfire.org
Fri Nov 9 07:03:28 PST 2012
Today, Nov 9, 2012, http://www.google.com was blocked in China. It's the
first time since we started tracking online censorship in China in February
last year that this has happened. Here's what we know:
- The subdomains www.google.com, mail.google.com, google-analytics.com,
docs.google.com, drive.google.com, maps.google.com, play.google.com and
perhaps many more are all currently DNS poisoned in China. Instead of the
real IP addresses, any lookups from China to any of these domains result in
the following IP: 184.108.40.206. That IP address is located in Korea and
doesn't serve any website at all.
- This means that none of these websites, including Google Search,
currently work in China, unless you have a VPN or other cirumvention tool.
- Using a DNS server outside of China doesn't help. A lookup of
www.google.com to 220.127.116.11 is also distorted, by the Great Firewall.
- So far you can still access other country versions of Google such as
You can see an overview of different Google sites here:
https://en.greatfire.org/search/google-sites. You can choose any of them
and test them in real time to stay updated.
Affecting more users than ever
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were all blocked before they attracted more
than a small number of users in China. We've argued before that the
authorities didn't dare to fully block GMail since it has too many users
already. Fully blocking Google goes much further. Google Search is only the
second search engine in China (after Baidu) but with an online population
of more than 500 million that still leaves it with many millions of daily
users. According to Alexa, it's the Top 5 most used website in China. Never
before have so many people been affected by a decision to block a website.
If Google stays blocked, many more people in China will become aware of the
extent of censorship. How will they react? Will there be protests? Check
out reactions by Weibo users on FreeWeibo.
Temporary or permanent?
The Communist Party of China is currently holding its 18th Party Congress
in which new leaders of the party and the country are formally chosen. The
fact that Google is blocked now is surely no coincidence. The big question
is whether it will be unblocked again once the congress is over. We will
closely monitor developments.
By the way.. Analytics
The fact that http://www.google-analytics.com is blocked doesn't just mean
that you can't access the web interface in China. It means that visits by
Chinese users won't be tracked by Google anymore. Foreign websites using
Google Analytics to track their visitors will currently track 0 users
coming from China, whether or not their website itself is blocked.
What to do?
Many VPNs and other circumvention tools have been working poorly or not at
all in the last few days. The free iPhone app OpenDoor is still working,
though it has also suffered glitches recently. Another method of accessing
Google Search is to use one of their other country versions such as
www.google.co.uk or www.google.ca. These may also be blocked of course.
You can also access Google directly using one of their IP addresses. These
don't appear to be blocked (yet). Here are some:
https://FreeWeibo.com - Uncensored, Anonymous Sina Weibo Search.
https://GreatFire.org - Monitoring Online Censorship In China.
https://Unblock.cn.com - We Can Unblock Your Website In China.
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