Is Tiananmen Square screwing up my site in China?

A reader writes:

just wanted to let you know that I think your tiananmen post is creating serious difficulties accessing The Peking Duck in china. it’s strange because the post comes up (no picture at present) and ends at the words “especially the back and forth arguments about what happened and what its”. And then you can’t see any other entries on the page… strange because other people seem to have written about it w/o problem and also I’ve never seen a page only partially load up the way yours is doing.

Any others experiencing the same? I’ve been told in the past about partial loading of my posts when I write about the TSM, but not in recent months. Are there any words in the photo below that are controversial (maybe in the sign the woman is holding)?


Martyyn just wrote:

I thought it was just my isp but my Peking Duck page
is only partially loading up as well (in Guangzhou).
I’ve never seen anything like it before.

I also can’t access the comments nor any of the links.


Damn. If this keeps up this site will be ruined. Most of my readers are in China. If I change the name of that place to “Ti@n@nmen” do you think everything will return to normal?

The Discussion: 21 Comments

Mine loading is fine, but i’m in the UK. I am, however, getting lots of hits that aren’t registered with my statcounter, which is weird, and which have only picked up in the last few days, and which I’m inclined to chalk up to China as well, but maybe I’m being paranoid.

June 5, 2005 @ 3:35 pm | Comment

Enjoy the hits!

I’ve only been told about problems like this from readers in China. Some suggest I write “Ti@n@nmen” to fool the filters. But that makes it harder for searchers to find the post. Why don’t they just tear down the damned firewall??

June 5, 2005 @ 3:40 pm | Comment

In Hangzhou the page seems to load just fine, so perhaps it’s just a strange regional filtering… we’ve seen that different areas are filtered differently.

June 5, 2005 @ 5:11 pm | Comment

True, John. I remember when my site didn’t load in Tianjin, but was fine in Shanghai. Even then, it was temporary, lasting just a couple of days.

June 5, 2005 @ 5:37 pm | Comment

I needed a proxy to get here yesterday, and even then it only loaded partially. And I could only view comments after disconnecting and reconnecting, but I had to do that each time I clicked on the comments for a particular post. Today is closer to normal, but it still hasn’t quite loaded completely.

Messing around with the spelling may perhaps be one way of avoiding the keyword scanning thing. Remember, it’s machines doing the scanning, machines don’t think. If the word is recognisable to us, but not to the machines, you might slip through the net.

June 5, 2005 @ 6:10 pm | Comment

That kind of respelling is common enough in spam — you see spellings like “V1a6ra” — so there must by now be search algoriths that can cope with it. Throwing a few @s into words on the filtering list might get them past the Great Firewall for now, but not necessarily for much longer.

June 5, 2005 @ 6:27 pm | Comment

Couldn’t access your site yesterday either; assumed it was due to the date.

June 5, 2005 @ 6:37 pm | Comment

no problems accessing anything from western mainland.

but if as chriswaugh said the problem happened while he was using a proxy then the problem isn’t the nanny…

June 5, 2005 @ 8:07 pm | Comment

I was just told by a friend in Beijing that it’s loading partially but not completely, and Sam in Shenzhen says it won’t open at all. I’m still guessing it’s a TS thing, and will end shortly.

June 5, 2005 @ 8:39 pm | Comment


I thought you were just having some technical difficulties on your end yesterday because I was experiencing the same problems as everyone else when trying to access your site.

Your posts seem to be loading find today, but none of your images are being displayed. I noticed that my Tiananmen Tankman picture wouldn’t display yesterday because I took it from a Yahoo image, but after I downloaded it and placed it on my own server everything went back to normal.

Oddly enough, the proxy browser that I use to subvert the great firewall seemed to be having troubles yesterday too. I kept getting .php errors and just as Laowai mentioned, I have been getting a ton of hits from Beijing that don’t reveal a great deal of information about the visitor which is also odd because the software ( that I’ve been using usually tells you everything.

As Simon said a few weeks ago when I couldn’t access his site, “If my site is being blocked on the Mainland, I must be doing something right”.



BTW, you might consider changing your RSS permissions to allow users to view your entire posts from their readers rather than the short snipits while your site is experiencing these difficulties because I can view your postings just fine when I use my RSS reader.

June 5, 2005 @ 8:52 pm | Comment

I had that problem yesterday too, received the ‘POSX error’ message, and various ‘server timeout’. also was very obviously port-scanned (usually a precursor to a hack attack) whenever I went near anything that said the ‘T’ word. Google image search failed on anything relating to Tiananmen, and as a bonus extra anything relating to the Chinese Diplomat in Australia would not load, even with proxies it was difficult. Also living in Guangzhou. Maybe related to the Zhao Ziyang stuff at the moment.

June 5, 2005 @ 9:06 pm | Comment

The site is still being affected by something in Guangzhou. Still not loading up properly and I can only access the COmments sections about 1 in 20 attempts.

The site seems to “stick” when trying to download the TSM protest photo. Mind you, the photo accompanies a TSM post so it may be certain key words affecting the download not the photo.

Still, I can’t see the photo both yesterday and today but (sometimes) can see the TSM post, which is weird.

All this manipulation of info and control. What a sad place.

June 6, 2005 @ 1:12 am | Comment

You can add Nanning to the “can’t access” or partial load. Now I am in GZ and can’t access all of the comment sections. I also have been having trouble my emaila the last few days, like someone is play a game, lettting me see one email at a time, then making me open a new window to access my email again.

June 6, 2005 @ 6:53 am | Comment

I have changed the post and removed the picture. Does it load better now??

June 6, 2005 @ 7:24 am | Comment

Coming through fine here!

June 6, 2005 @ 10:18 am | Comment


Of course I have to poke a little fun at you on this one.

You have bowed to the Chinese Communist Party.

In order to retain your readers in China, you have bowed to the CCP by changing your blog to suit their agenda. Sad.

I know you did it to retain your readers in China, but is that not the same thing capitalists do in America? Kowtow to Beijing so that they may produce their goods at a cheaper laborer?

Of course I know that you do not support the CCP, but at the same time you have compromised your principles just as every big pig American corporation does when it opens a shop in China.

I hope you get my drift without taking offense.

June 6, 2005 @ 10:28 am | Comment

* oh yeah, please excuse the spelling error. I just returned from dinner with 9 Chinese guys (lots of beer).

June 6, 2005 @ 10:30 am | Comment

I don’t take offense — I was doing what some readers requested so they could read my invaluable insights, unhindered by the e-censors.

June 6, 2005 @ 10:44 am | Comment

Richard, here in Shanghai I was unable to load Peking Duck AT ALL. I just received “DNS error” messages each time I tried to access the site.

Today I can reach the site again without problem.

June 6, 2005 @ 11:23 am | Comment

Interesting – the minute I took down the photo and respelled T******en the problem went away.

June 6, 2005 @ 11:28 am | Comment

Yep, now it’s all working in my part of the mainland.

June 6, 2005 @ 4:08 pm | Comment

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