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[liberationtech] Google Bows Down To Chinese Government On Censorship

Martin Johnson greatfire at
Thu Jan 10 04:37:31 PST 2013

Good link Julian. The article makes some very good points. Others are
misleading though. For one, most porn sites are not blocked, and I don't
think that's a reason for circumventing the GFW (that and more in
Also, I've never seen messages like "Sorry, the host you were looking for
does not exist, has been deleted, or is being investigated." The error
messages you get when you try to access blocked websites are standard
errors set by the browser - "The connection has timed out", "The connection
was reset" etc.

I also think the estimates of how many people circumvent the GFW are often
exaggerated. Facebook itself doesn't claim to have more than a million
users in China. That is, they reach less than 0.2% of the Internet

Martin Johnson
Founder - Monitoring Online Censorship In China. - Uncensored, Anonymous Sina Weibo Search. - We Can Unblock Your Website In China.

On Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 8:19 PM, Julian Oliver <julian at>wrote:

> ..on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 02:01:10PM +0200, Maxim Kammerer wrote:
> > On Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 1:03 PM, Martin Johnson <greatfire at>
> wrote:
> > > Yes, the question is what you call "working well". The
> censorship-warning
> > > feature added last year was clearly improving the user experience.
> Removing
> > > it worsened the user experience again.
> >
> > Is this backed up by actual user experiences from China?
> >
> > “When spoke to a few Chinese residents about the disabled
> > Google feature, they were not even aware of it because they used VPNs,
> > demonstrating Google might not be taking into account just how savvy
> > its users are at all.” [1]
> I found the article 'Five Myths about the Chinese Internet' a very useful
> read,
> especially as regards savvy-factor of users. We in the West love to
> generalise
> 'the situation' in China but often have little or no idea as to the scale,
> scope
> or dynamics at play. Another reason I find it particularly valuable to be
> reading people on this list that are operating there.
> The article was walled off at (ironically) but is
> available
> here in its entirety:
>     Five Myths about the Chinese Internet:
>     "Chinese Internet users are cosmopolitan, educated, and informed. Many
> use,
>     or at least know they can use, circumvention technology like VPNs
> (Virtual
>     Private Networks) to access blocked content."
> Cheers,
> --
> Julian Oliver
> --
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