Blogspot Unblocked

Kaiser said so, and it’s true – for now, at least. We’ve been through this exercise so many times, playing see-saw, up and down, cat and mouse, a Chinese firedrill. What does it mean, and why do they bother? (Don’t feel obliged to answer. The questions are mainly rhetorical, as there really is no answer.)

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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: 17 Comments

Unblocked in Shanghai too. Also can finally see the unfiltered version of Google for the first time in weeks.

March 29, 2007 @ 5:27 pm | Comment

Let freedom flow one band at a time..

March 29, 2007 @ 8:22 pm | Comment

apropos the net nanny. here is a nice tool to outside china find out if the nanny likes your website: http://www.greatfirewallofchina.org/

March 29, 2007 @ 9:56 pm | Comment

sorry very bad english.

March 29, 2007 @ 9:57 pm | Comment

This might not be true everywhere, but http://www.greatfirewallofchina.org is blocked as well, at least in Dalian. At least we’re getting a little back.

March 29, 2007 @ 11:55 pm | Comment

“What does it mean, and why do they bother?” Although you say it’s a rhetorical question, I don’t feel it really is. So let me try to explain it to you. The communist party is not really in control of much that matters in the country today. By maintaining significant control over political expression, it pretends that it’s actually running china’s economic development, which quite frankly, is so vast it’s beyond anyone’s capacity to manage at this point. Basically, they try to surpress this feeling of general impotence – that feeling no one’s in charge in a country that’s run under the assumption that someone really is. And it is this feeling, the general impotence of china’s leadership, that also really scare experts the world over.

March 30, 2007 @ 6:52 am | Comment

I think we all understand why they block sites. What is more mystifying is the haphazard way they do it, blocking entire hosting services one day, only to lift the block days later.

March 30, 2007 @ 8:30 am | Comment

Is blogspot reblocked? And I just had to use a proxy to get to Danwei. What’s going on?

March 30, 2007 @ 1:21 pm | Comment

Seems to be blocked again today. I’m beginning to think the weirdly arbitrary and porous nature of the firewall is a good metaphor for censorship in the whole of China; my favourite example being how books frequently sell more copies *after* being banned.

It’s interesting to reflect on how effective media control nonetheless is in shaping opinion; not because the information isn’t available to anyone who wants even semi-seriously to look for it, but because few people are prompted to do the looking in the first place.

March 30, 2007 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

One could say that the arbitrariness is a deliberate, Kafkasque reminder of the power of the state, which with a whim can take or remove the life and rights of its citizens …

Or you could assume incompetence, misdirection, arbitrary orders coming from various political factions, occasional whimsy, and frequent technical breakdowns. Which is probably more accurate.

March 30, 2007 @ 1:37 pm | Comment

Yup, blocked again. Can access Danwei without a problem.

March 30, 2007 @ 3:54 pm | Comment

I’ll join JamesP and say that Firewall’s capricious nature is often probably the result of hardware failure or maintenance on the Chinese security network. From time to time, the Great Firewall will stop blocking a site for a day or two (or even for an hour or two) before getting back to “normal” and denying access.

March 30, 2007 @ 7:12 pm | Comment

A friend of mine called it a digital panopticon, where whoever is controlling it can appear all-knowing and all-seeing by simply keeping us guessing, because we never know for certain when we really are being watched.

It looks like BlogSpot and the Blogger server are both down in Dalian. I can’t get to Salon.com or CSM, either. Kaiser Kuo and Danwei are coming up text-only.

Even Bloglines is acting up. Some of this might be faulty wiring involved in my connection, or an overzealous ISP. None of that makes it less irritating, though.

March 30, 2007 @ 11:24 pm | Comment

I can’t use blogspot with a proxy or other methods, so could there be something wrong their end?

March 31, 2007 @ 7:23 am | Comment

Oops, I lied. Damn. It’s definitely being blocked.

March 31, 2007 @ 7:24 am | Comment

Fortunately my trouble getting to Danwei was only temporary and probably due to China Unicom’s usual incompetence. As for blogspot, I can get to blogger easily enough and blog all I like, I just can’t see anything at a .blogspot.com address. What’s weirder is that I’ve had the same kind of trouble at other services, even though they don’t have a blogspot/blogger-style split between the backend and the frontend. Absolutely cannot figure that one out.

March 31, 2007 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

Here is a question:

Do you really know how to tell if a site is purposely blocked, or just plainly inaccessible?

No, greatfirewallofchina.org won’t tell you correctly either. Their methodology according to what I read, is borderline laughable.

Case in point, a while back Level 3 and Global Crossing, two of the Internet infrastructure provider big shots, had some peering disagreement. Many of the Internet sites became inaccessible to end users. If you hit greatfirewallofchina.org then, it would call many sites being “blocked”.

Don’t get me wrong. The Internet providers in China do censor sites and traffic. Just that you probably called half of the inaccessibility problem “blocked”.

April 3, 2007 @ 3:45 am | Comment

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