Best three blogs on China are all blocked!

Bingfeng reports:

this is really crazy, china digital news, the peking duck and asia pundit are all blocked today. great job, now go to read china daily baby!

A sad day for us all. CDT and this blog both posted about Tai$hi yesterday. Not sure why Asia Pundit was suddenly blocked. Let’s hope it’s temporary.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 39 Comments

Only Asiapundit is blocked now apparently, at least from SW China. Probably nothing personal, just a keyword block. Just like google, the ZXB can in most cases proudly claim, ‘machines, not humans’ will block your sites.

October 31, 2005 @ 9:15 pm | Comment

PekingDuck is not blocked but CDT and AsiaPundit are blocked :-)

October 31, 2005 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

It does seem to vary from place to place….

October 31, 2005 @ 9:22 pm | Comment

Welcome to the ranks.

Man I am so glad that I didn’t invest in a domain name.

October 31, 2005 @ 9:51 pm | Comment

Oh yeah..then again, at least you didn’t cause an entire blog host to get banned…sheez….(I can post the email from Blog-City which proves it was THM that got them banned).

October 31, 2005 @ 9:52 pm | Comment

Well, I had to use three separate proxy servers to access the site just now.
This is why my classes (geo and history) are unremittingly anti-CCP and each class I bring up a lie the CCP offers and then have my students take it apart.

October 31, 2005 @ 9:54 pm | Comment

Oh Congratulations!
Now, after a big lunch, I come back to find that you are unblocked in the beautiful city of Shanghai (or at least in my office)

October 31, 2005 @ 10:41 pm | Comment

TPD and CDT are working from Shanghai and connectivity seems to be taking place in Beijing (trace route at http://www.linkwan.com/vr/ ). AsiaPundit is down as part of a broadened block on TypePad sites though. I’ll probably move to my own server when my account needs renewal next year, then we’ll see if it’s related to AP specifically (as it stands I’m a touch jealous of Running Dog). Oh, “best three”.. thanks.

October 31, 2005 @ 10:46 pm | Comment

PKD is hit and miss in Beijing. LAst night I was shut out like Newcastle playing Liverpool but today I can access it most of the time.

October 31, 2005 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

Well at least it gives some of the crappy china blogs (like mine!) a chance to get some hits!

October 31, 2005 @ 11:30 pm | Comment

Well I don’t think it’s such a big deal. I mean I think sometimes some of these blogs do have things that are inappropriate and illegal. And blocking is quite common in foreign countries too. I know that in the US, many hostile sites to the US are blocked, such as Al Qaeda or something “terrorist” sites. And if I write some posts praising Osama Bin Laden, it’ll be deleted for sure. So don’t try to focus on China too much, everywhere it’s the same.

October 31, 2005 @ 11:46 pm | Comment

peking duck is unblocked in shanghai

i don’t regard CDT as a blog since it mostly refer to others’ articles without its own comments

seems the bloking or unblocking is done by a machine, what do you think?

October 31, 2005 @ 11:52 pm | Comment

quite agree with HongXing

the CSM site used to have a board for its readers to comment, and many of my comments were deleted by the monitors without any explaination, and they didn’t contain anything “bad”, perhaps the monitor was unhappy with a reader from china who disagreed with him

October 31, 2005 @ 11:56 pm | Comment

TPD still totally blocked in Guangzhou.

November 1, 2005 @ 12:06 am | Comment

Well I don’t think it’s such a big deal. I mean I think sometimes some of these blogs do have things that are inappropriate and illegal. And blocking is quite common in foreign countries too. I know that in the US, many hostile sites to the US are blocked, such as Al Qaeda or something “terrorist” sites. And if I write some posts praising Osama Bin Laden, it’ll be deleted for sure. So don’t try to focus on China too much, everywhere it’s the same.

I don’t believe any such site is blocked in the US and want to know why you believe such a blocking system exists. Maybe such web sites have been closed, but we don’t have a government-run system to censor the Internet the way China does.

Inciting people to terrorism is illegal so any site – or radio show or newspaper – that encourages people to perform acts of terrorism (or, similarly, to kill their parents or rob banks) will be shut down. But they won’t be blocked. It’s not a matter of censorship, but of breaking the law. To compare this to the way China blocks sites that say things that are embarrassing to the Party is absurd.

November 1, 2005 @ 12:15 am | Comment

Sorry, but is HongXing (red star) a clever parody… or a real person?

November 1, 2005 @ 12:29 am | Comment

You’re still blocked here. (Not a million miles from Shanghai.) I was online when it happened, and it appeared to occur at exactly the moment you posted about Tai$hi. The CDT trigger could possibly have been the article about the blogger nominated for the Bestofblogs who got shut down.

Gordon, are you claiming sole responsibility for blog-city? It’s just I’ve got a feeling that ACB was willing to share in some of that guilt. (You and he were both mentioned in that “article” in the online China Daily written by our “friend” not so very long before blog-city was shut.) But anyway, I think we’ve got to accept that blog-city was in a precarious position before the ban, there were an awful lot of unregistered mainland bloggers blogging in Chinese on the site. (Several of my friends for starters.) Nanny doesn’t tend to appreciate that kind of thing.

November 1, 2005 @ 1:00 am | Comment

As of today, PKD looks good in Beijing as does CDT, but Asiapundit is unreachable. I am hoping this is just one of those wierd little blips that come and go. Not sure of Myrick posted anything radioactive in the last two days. Seems to be usual Typepad shotgun block. Sigh.

November 1, 2005 @ 3:46 am | Comment

Still blocked via CERNET in Greater Nanjing as of the evening of 11/01.

November 1, 2005 @ 5:28 am | Comment

I don’t believe any such site is blocked in the US and want to know why you believe such a blocking system exists. Maybe such web sites have been closed, but we don’t have a government-run system to censor the Internet the way China does.

Inciting people to terrorism is illegal so any site – or radio show or newspaper – that encourages people to perform acts of terrorism (or, similarly, to kill their parents or rob banks) will be shut down. But they won’t be blocked. It’s not a matter of censorship, but of breaking the law. To compare this to the way China blocks sites that say things that are embarrassing to the Party is absurd.

Well I think you are trying to focus on some detailed point. You call it “censorship” in China, but you call it “breaking the law” in the USA. But for a China-defender, it’s also “breaking in the law” in China. For a US-Attacker, it’s “censorship” in the US.

You say that “inciting terrorism is illegal”. Well, terrorism is a very political word. To the US, Bin Laden is a terorrist, but Ughur militants in China are “freedom fighters”. In other words, if I go on a US site and talk about Ugher freedom fighters who are bombing buses and malls in China or talk about Chechen fighters who are bombing buildings in Russia, I’m sure those posts will NOT be deleted.

Likewise, if I talk about Osama Bin Laden being a hero on a Chinese forum, it will NOT be deleted. But if I talk about Ugher fighters, it will for sure be deleted.

So it is a matter of perspective and whose “side” you are on. But at the end, if the government does not like what you say, they’ll find a way to stop you. Whether or not they use the label “breaking the law”, “counter-revolutionary speech”, etc. is irrelevent.

November 1, 2005 @ 7:22 am | Comment

dishuiguanyin, I’ll have to dig into my email at THM, but somewhere in there I have an email from Blog-City where they told me they were trying to go through the proper channels of getting unblocked in China and then I was informed that as long as they continued to host my blog and one other (don’t remember if it was ACB or Anti), they will continue to be blocked on the Mainland.

So, to answer your question..no. I’m not trying to take sole responsibility.

Also, I learned through the commets relating to the article on China Daily that one of the publishers at CD started a petition to have THM and TPD banned in China and apparently they got their wish.

November 1, 2005 @ 7:32 am | Comment

HongXing, you are an odd duck. And you have no clue what you’re talking about.

Almost no web sites in the US are ever shut down based on politics, even the most extreme anti-American, anti-Bush sites — there are zillions out there. We go by rule of law here so this might be hard for you to understand – the government can’t frivolously shut down web sites. There has to be a legal process, and if a web site is closed it has to have broken a law, for example, offering child pornography or telling people to murder other people. Only in extreme cases that put others in serious danger would a judge order a web site closed. In China, a web site can be blocked at whim, with no legal process. That is censorship. There is relatively little little censorship in the US. I can make fun of my government and urge people to tear it down as long as I’d like. My web site will NEVER be closed for that. People are sent away for years in China for doing far less. (Ever hear of Shi Tao?)

No posts about Uighers or Bin Laden or anything else will be deleted if it doesn’t incite violence (unless the site owner wants them deleted; the site owner can delete anything he chooses). The only time the law will become involved is if you make a threat or incite people to commit crimes (murder, child porn, looting, etc.). Do you get any of these distinctions? Are you really so dense that you don’t see the difference between blocking people’s viewpoints (China) and forbidding people from encouraging murder and other crimes (US)? And even when it comes to encouraging murder, it’s damned rare that sites in the US get closed down for incitement.

I’m losing my patience with you fast, HongXing.

Why do I have to deal with such obtuseness all the time? Why?

November 1, 2005 @ 7:36 am | Comment

Richard, I agree with you that, compared to China, US does have a more liberal political system, and that its speech is more open. But I think that’s a result of cultural differences. Westerners are always more outwardly-oriented and open, and they said what is on their mind directly.

Chinese, on the other hand, have too much complex things such as “euphemism/ allusion/ metaphors/allegories” etc etc. So in this sense, Chinese people sometimes try too hard to be “artisitic” and “strategic” in their speech, and as a result, many Westerns feel that Chinese people are too complex in their speech and have trouble understanding some subtle deeper meanings (sometimes several layers of hidden meanings).

I myself think the direct and simple way of communication also has many advantages, and then both cultures should learn from each other.

November 1, 2005 @ 7:50 am | Comment

Gordon, I honestly don’t think I’m banned. This happened yesterday when I wrote about Tai$hi, and the exact same thing happend on June 4 this year when I wrote about that incident that never happened back in 1989. After three days or so, my site was loading fine. We’ll know soon enough, but the fact that a good number of readers can access it without a problem gives me cause for optimism.

November 1, 2005 @ 7:53 am | Comment

Well for your sake I hope you’re not banned, Richard.

I started getting a bit edgy a month or so before BC was banned because I noticed that I was having problems loading my url. It only lasted off and on for a day or so, but I had the feeling they were just testing the waters and sure enough a month or two later it turned into a full ban.

BTW, I was in agreement with you in regards to your comment about not having website censors here in the US, but I just read in the paper about how the US government intercepts mail (email?) coming from scam artists who are trying to convince people that they have won thousands of dollars in an international lottery. While I can appreciate the fact that this probably protects a lot of our seniors, I’m still pretty concerned about it.

November 1, 2005 @ 8:06 am | Comment

I didn’t say we aren’t monitored. With Bush in charge, I wouldn’t be surprised if everything’s watched and tracked. The Patriot Act helped institutionalize the practice. But censored – that’s another issue, and Americans are very sensitive to it. I’ll be alarmed when I hear they’re actrually stifling speech. Of course, I’d never put it past our dear leader.

November 1, 2005 @ 8:09 am | Comment

More on “censorship of internet” in China. The so called “censorship” and “post-deletion/banning” in China’s forums are mostly not done by some policeman government operatives.

Most forum moderators in China, except for People Daily’s Strong Nation Forum, are not paid. They are regular people who just wanted to do it as a hobby.

When I was living in China, I was a part-time forum moderator for a year at the famous Baidu Military Forum. There were two other moderators on that forum. All of us were part-time volunteers: we just submitted our resume and then they gave us some tests on text-editing and HTML, and we got the jobs. I was the oldest amongst us 3, the other two were 18 and 20, both students.

And we delete posts on our own discretion, if we feel that a post is “trolling” or viciously attacking China or insinuating something horrible about China, or being racist, or attack someone personally, we would delete it. And sometimes if someone repeated post those things, we would ban his username.

So do you call that censorship? Well, we do arbitrarily delete others’ posts, but we are given the power to do so as moderators, just like you are a moderator on this forum.

November 1, 2005 @ 8:36 am | Comment

So do you call that censorship?

Now you are comparing two very different things.

Initially the discussion was about the Chinese gov’t blocking news because it disagreed with the verifiable facts being reported.

Now you are talking about screening “trolls”, racist comments, etc. That’s just anti-spam maintenance. No, I would not call the latter “censorship”, more like basic housecleaning.

The articles blocked by the Chinese gov’t were not trolls or baseless racist comments. It appears that they were blocked because the Chinese gov’t did not care for the facts presented. That’s censorship.

November 1, 2005 @ 1:17 pm | Comment

Well I think you are a bit too extreme about censorship online. Also, do you really have time to read all the materials online? Even if you do nothing but surf, you still cannot read everything online. So I don’t think censorship affects our lives that much anyway.

I don’t feel that my online experience has been less enjoyable because of censorship. I only read a few sites that I like, such as Peking Duck, Sina.com, Baidu forums, Chinese Readers Digest, BBC, and Strong Nation Forum.

If I make a post on Baidu forum and it was denied because of sensitive words, I will just add some “/” between the words, it’s really not that much trouble. (Of course you have to remember to copy your original text before submitting so it won’t get lost if denied).

Perhaps in the 21st century, we are all getting a bit lazy and unwilling to do extra work. Well, imagine what would we do without Internet. So I think sometimes we are too picky and delicate :)

November 1, 2005 @ 4:38 pm | Comment

There’s no arguing with HongXing, I’m afraid. He ought to ask some of those cyberdissidents in Chinese jails what they think about those pesky Internet police.

November 1, 2005 @ 4:50 pm | Comment

There’s a simple reason why Communist Robots like HongXing are incapable of making any logical argument, or even of understanding what logic is:

They don’t have to.

They’re the Communist Party. They have absolute power. Therefore they don’t need to be logical.

They never learn how to argue, because nobody is allowed to argue against them. They’re accustomed to reciting meaningless phrases again and again, and expecting everyone to swallow it, under threat of prison or death.

That’s why Communist Robots like HongXing are impossible to engage with in any logical way.

Ignore.

November 1, 2005 @ 6:33 pm | Comment

When did Peking Duck become the top three blogs on China??? Did I miss out somthing, guys?

November 1, 2005 @ 8:01 pm | Comment

Ho, have you ever heard of self-effacing humor? I know, it’s subtle and hard to get, but try.

November 1, 2005 @ 8:07 pm | Comment

I see, ;-)

November 1, 2005 @ 8:15 pm | Comment

Gordon,
Are you telling me that if you and either ACB or Anti move your blogs, then hundreds/thousands/whatever the number is of innocent(ish) chinese bloggers can have their blog-city blogs back?
Wow, now that is one hell of an ethical dilema for youse guys. ;-)

Now when I first heard about the petition I thought that it was nonsense because in my experience the one way to make sure that a Chinese leader does NOT do something is to present him with a petition asking for it. (It seems to put their backs right up to have people telling them what they should do.) However, this is a slightly different case, since the petition is asking the government to do more of what they are already doing, ie, banning free speech and websites critical of their regime. Do you think the censors might actually take something like this seriously, or do you think they’ll just ignore it?
TPD is still 3/4 blocked where I am – I can read all articles posted after the one about T*i$hi, but none before, and no comments or graphics. I hope richard is right and it’ll slowly return to normal.

November 1, 2005 @ 11:25 pm | Comment

Do we know of such a petition actually exists?

If the block is permanent, I suppose there’s not much I can do. I’m wondering why it’s loading fine in most areas, but not at all in others.

November 1, 2005 @ 11:50 pm | Comment

Considering the source, I don’t believe that such a petition would actually exist. What a joke.
But I’d like to say that the fact that this site is blocked where I am just serves as further proof, in my opinion, that all this talk about China’s development and the “Chinese Century” are total BS. I mean, how could any country have “its century” if it is scared of blogs? How could any country have “its century” when it says that “any reports on bird flu outbreaks need to be cleared with the relevant offices before publication”?
It’s just another sign of the backward, close-minded thinking of the government and some sections of the population, and another sign of China’s weakness.

November 2, 2005 @ 12:23 am | Comment

I was unable to load TPD this morning – not even through the back door – but it’s working fine now, in my city anyway.

However, Nanny is still stomping on CDT.

November 2, 2005 @ 1:23 am | Comment

You like entering through the back door do you Ivan? I’m not surprized.

November 2, 2005 @ 11:23 pm | Comment

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