Welcome to the club, Danwei

Just about everyone’s favorite English-language site on China appears to be unreachable here. This might be server issue, but that’s what I kept thinking a couple of weeks ago.

…Danwei’s server in Texas has been generally unreachable from mainland China since around 4pm Friday afternoon. A targeted block? An unfortunate side effect of recent upgrades made to improve the efficiency of filtering unwholesome material? A giant mass hallucination?

It’s impossible to tell at this point. So spend the weekend outside and we’ll see if we can’t get things turned around by Monday.

Update (2009.07.04): Well, a new IP address has made the server reachable again, but the connection invariably gets reset. Not the best possible situation to be in, I’m afraid.

I’ve been trying to access the site from Kunming tonight with no luck. CNReviews looks at the recent spate of blocks, highlighting a number of recent posts on the topic by Chinayouren. Scroll to the end of the post to see Kai’s advice on what we blocked bloggers can do about it.

Feel free to use this as an open thread. I think we’ve talked the censorship story to death this past week.

The Discussion: 23 Comments

Hi Richard,

Yes, Danwei is blocked, and so is PKD and myself, I am pretty sure of that. I had some slight doubts in the beggining that it might have been one of those general subnet blocks, but I saw our IPs are completely different. Also, today I changed IP and I got the Spanish blog open. The English one apparently has other blocks in addition, so I am working on that. Will let u know how it goes and if it works I might be able to give you some useful tips for your site.

They are going after the English speaking blogs now. I think Shanghaiist, Imagethief, Granite Studio etc. should be careful these days, they might be next. My feeling is general political posts are still ok, but words touching activist keywords like the Charter o-eight, the flg, etc might get u blocked. Also perhaps posts about Censorship.

I would imagine the World controversy about all this greendam thing has pissed off a lot of people in the censors office, and we small bloggers are an easy target with little consequences for them. Are they venting out on us? Who knows, I hope they take it easy from now on.

July 5, 2009 @ 2:48 am | Comment

Does that really make sense? What’s with going after the small fry? And they should know, the sites you mention, and especially Danwei and Shanghaiist, have excellent WOM. And even the puny TPD has a friend or two in global media, and once they get on a story, they can be like a itt bull. They may regret this down the road, These blogs also have dedicated readers who aren’t averse to doing all they csn to spread the word.

Bed time. Way past, as a matter of fact. Even Kunming’s rains can’t dampen the spirit of this irrepressible city.

July 5, 2009 @ 3:08 am | Comment

Richard, can’t say I agree with you about the blocking being ‘irrational’. Remember, much of this content is actually illegal anyway, looked at the right (wrong) way, this is just them enforcing the law, and doing what they’ve been saying they’re going to do as well. I get the idea that the tech is also in place to better block the stuff they don’t like, and that it wasn’t there in the past. The rational is simple, if you are big western media supported by a government then we will discredit you with brainwashing and propaganda and try to bring in a domestic alternative; if you are a private individual then we will block you, you will not reach the Chinese people.

In reality it was the previous blocking that was more irrational. It didn’t make sense that the Economist was censored whilst The Times, The Guardian and many other British Newspapers were not. It didn’t really make sense that the NYT was unblocked whilst the BBC was blocked. It didn’t make sense that a website like Sinocidal could publish awesome slashfic involving Mark Roswell, his wife, a dildo and a Hu Jintao mask and get blocked because of it, but then get unblocked through a simple bit of electronic sleight-of-hand and somehow stay that way. I’m sure that technology will eventually catch up and unblock all the blocked websites, but not for a little while. This is something along the line of the encrypt/decrypt dichotomy, just as it is always easier to encrypt a signal than it is to decrypt it, so it will always be easier to formulate a post in a way preventing detection than it is for a system to be developed to detect it. Maybe the next move should be just to write the post out, and then publish it as a JPEG or other such picture file so as to make the page non-scannable (at least as text). Another way might be to post in an obscure language which they will not block, and then use an automatic translator on the page to convert it (although translators at the moment are not good enough).

Seeing all the comments in the link you posted to that 2006 Taiwan story in the ‘Laowai!’ thread really brought home to me just how relatively care-free the Sino-blogosphere used to be. Websites like Sinocidal and TalkTalkChina (which I know loads of people condemned at the time , but they were simply the best) wouldn’t last a minute without getting blocked in today’s climate. PiPi from Sinocidal’s attempt at setting up another blog got blocked within a couple of months of him starting it, WordPress isn’t down yet, but asides from being an open-source product (i.e., not Microsoft/Google) I can’t see why not – it will follow soon enough. My lame-ass blog is on blogspot, and is therefore blocked for good, even resurrecting it on its own URL would probably result in it getting blocked in short order. All I can say is – what do you expect of a dictatorship?

July 5, 2009 @ 3:10 am | Comment

By the way, I meant it about the little protest, even just a letter asking for an explanation might be enough – who knows?

July 5, 2009 @ 3:12 am | Comment

Damn, that’s it – I’m going to set up a CCP slashfic site! Probably call it C/C/P, First up: Hu/Zombie Mao – who’s with me?!?

July 5, 2009 @ 3:17 am | Comment


Well, hey, if Jane Austen can have zombies…

Any chance this will loosen up after Oct.?

July 5, 2009 @ 3:36 am | Comment

Bingo ,danwei! i’ve been wondering this for a long time, if danwei doest get a single block, then what has danwei turned into? if anything, for now, i suspect any site if it is always reachable. on the other side, if a site get a permanent prize from GFW, maybe it’s going to be a game update.

and i don’t see Kai’s comments here ,harmonized already?

July 5, 2009 @ 4:31 am | Comment

Safari, Kai’s comments are on his own blog in the post I linked to in my own post. Scroll to the bottom. It’s a joke.

July 5, 2009 @ 11:23 am | Comment

A very sane piece on British journalist’s working for Iranian state media:


July 5, 2009 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

Maybe all this recent blocking is a match of Go among the powers that be in CH internet.

But without knowing who the real players or their intentions it is hard to discern what is really going on.

What can I say is that Go is a more complex game than Chess. It may be more into this than we may think.

July 5, 2009 @ 9:02 pm | Comment

By the way, when is pres. Obama going to visit China?

The Chinese leaders may be getting impatient…

July 5, 2009 @ 9:03 pm | Comment

[…] a few posts popped up about websites being blocked in China at cnreviews and peking duck. Littleredbook, and other sites I run, have been blocked a few times before, and figured out how to […]

July 6, 2009 @ 12:35 am | Pingback

OK, so I am finally done with this. Next.

Richard, I suppose you are enjoying Kunming now, but when you get back write me an email and Ill tell you or your admin a couple of tips to get u out of trouble. Not rocket science, really, but can save you some time until u figure it out. Good luck!

July 6, 2009 @ 1:46 am | Comment

Riots in Xinjiang, large fires, gunfire, two reported dead:


July 6, 2009 @ 2:47 am | Comment

Brighten up your day by checking http://gov.state.ak.us/ 🙂

It’s hilarious – it’s like a mock page done by The Onion, but it’s the real thing.

They even left the words to be emphasized in all caps on the front page.

“We’re strategic IN the world as the air crossroads OF the world… This land, blessed with clean air, water, wildlife, minerals, AND oil and gas. It’s energy! God gave us energy.”

Mwa ha ha ha ho hooooo aaah

this woman is a comedic genius

July 6, 2009 @ 10:39 am | Comment

FOARP, we are now up to 140 dead. Now that’s a riot. This sounds nasty.

Poet, I actually know people who were infatuated with Palin and thought she was a fine choice. At least she’s through. If she resignes because she’s a lame-duck governor, what’s to stop her from resigning when she’s a lame-duck president (as all presidents eventually become)? She is not only scary for her right-wing views but for what seems to be a mental disorder. Not that a lot of smart people didn’t warn us all in advance of how dangerous she is. “The maverick” must rue the day he ever listened to William Kristol’s advice to pick Sarah.

July 6, 2009 @ 5:56 pm | Comment

Just picked that news up myself. Unbelievable. You’ve got ask yourself what the true extent is if 140 is an ‘official’ figure.

Yahoo reported the following:

“State television aired footage showing protesters attacking and kicking people on the ground. Other people, who appeared to be Han Chinese, sat dazed with blood pouring down their faces”

This sounds like the beginning of a spin to make Han Chinese the victims of separatist violence as in last years troubles in Lhasa. They’re already blaming outsiders for instigating the trouble according to a Reuters report I saw earlier. Silly feckers.

July 6, 2009 @ 6:31 pm | Comment

This sounds like the beginning of a spin to make Han Chinese the victims of separatist violence as in last years troubles in Lhasa.

they are victims of the separatist violence, just not the only victims. it is not entirely the fault of the han chinese that they moved to xinjiang – it is unlikely they would have access to any info other than the ccp propaganda. the real problem is of course that the happy happy ethnic dancing on the great wall china bollocks that the ccp loves to peddle is being revealed as just that.

July 6, 2009 @ 7:35 pm | Comment

Just to tack onto what Si said, regardless of what one thinks of the legitimacy or nature of Chinese rule in Xinjiang, it shouldn’t be overlooked that many Uighur indiscriminately take out their frustrations on Han. From everything i’ve seen in the media, that looked to be the case to some extent in the riots in Urumqi.

July 6, 2009 @ 9:37 pm | Comment

Have to second b, in fact, I have to say that the Han Chinese who died in Tibet last year mostly seem to have been innocents. Anyone who thinks that rioters anywhere target only wrong-doers never saw a riot. The cause of it seems to have been the Shaoguan incident, and it may well be that Rebiya Kadeer’s call for protests was the spark. However, anyone out there who sees this as meaning that it was caused by outside influence needs to ask themselves: why are people so willing to riot if they are as satisfied with CCP rule as the mainland media makes out?

July 7, 2009 @ 12:54 am | Comment

It seems to me that this is the flipside of the CCP continuously promoting nationalism. It’s one thing for Han Chinese to put their culture, language and ethnic characteristics on a pedestal and consider them icons worth fighting and dying for. The implications are very different if TB and XJ people do the same. China really is more like an empire than a nation-state and empires fear nationalism for good reason.

July 7, 2009 @ 9:37 am | Comment

This time China handled the Western media better. They let foreign reporters in and in the meantime cracked down on the rioters fast. There is really nothing to fear from the Western media. Chinese people support the government to maintain law and order.

July 7, 2009 @ 9:25 pm | Comment

It’s time burn down Zhongnanhai and all the CCP scum inside it. Look at the garbage spewed by CCP chief from Xinjiang:

Wang Lequan, Xinjiang’s Communist Party secretary, declared a curfew in all but name, imposing traffic restrictions and ordering people off the streets from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. Wednesday “to avoid further chaos.”
“It is needed for the overall situation. I hope people pay great attention and act immediately,” he said in an announcement broadcast on Xinjiang television.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang blamed the violence on Rebiya Kadeer, the U.S.-exiled Uighur leader.
“Using violence, making rumors, and distorting facts are what cowards do because they are afraid to see social stability and ethnic solidarity in Xinjiang,” he told a regular news conference.
Qin said Kadeer was behind the violence, adding “she has committed crimes that jeopardize national security.” Evidence had been found against her, Qin said, but refused to give details.

“Harmony” will dome when the last CCP scum take their last breath!

July 7, 2009 @ 10:15 pm | Comment

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