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China Blocks, Unblocks

Last week, Google announced its intentions to filter out search results leading to pornographic material in response to China's claims of violating its Internet regulations and laws. Google's communications director John Pinette even assured concerned parties that the company was "taking all the necessary steps" in relation to fixing the problems with search results.  However, the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center (CIIRC) retaliated and said that further actions would be taken if Google did not fully comply with its demands.

Yesterday the CIIRC may have lived up to its promise to some degree, as many Internet users within China quickly discovered that, Gmail and Google Docs no longer loaded. Numerous users flooded Twitter, Slashdot, and many other websites, reporting of the "connection interrupted" error when loading the supposed blocked websites. According to PCWorld, still loaded as of Wednesday night despite the disabled American-rooted versions.

The original problem between China and Google was that the company's Chinese-language search engine,, returned pornographic links based on English searches. Earlier this week Google reported that its new automated system removed the questionable links from the search engine. But as of Wednesday morning, search results still pulled up pornographic material via when accessed from within China.

However, Google and its associated websites weren't entirely blocked throughout the "blackout," as they could still be loaded by entering the corresponding IP addresses into the browser; it was the DNS (Domain Name System) which was apparently blocked or having technical issues. "Using an open proxy or VPN for connection to hosts outside of the mainland continues to allow access to Google, as does connecting directly to a IP address," said one reader over at Slashdot.

The Google "blackout" initially began Wednesday evening Beijing time, however access was somewhat restored on Thursday, with many users still experiencing problems in Shanghai and many other areas, according to The Hindu. It's unclear whether the blockage was a deliberate move on behalf of China, or a coincidental technical issue with DNS servers. The Hindu added that Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang would neither confirm or deny the government's involvement with the "blackout." However, Gang did accuse Google of violating Chinese laws by spreading "large amounts of vulgar content that is lascivious and pornographic.”

Last month China demanded that PC manufacturers pre-install free monitoring software provided by the government in order help filter out pornographic content, disguised as an aide for parents. Protestors quickly lashed out including U.S. government officials complaining that China was placing companies in an "untenable position" by forcing them to pre-install the software. Chinese bloggers even began to call for a nationwide boycott of the Internet on July 1. China eventually relented, saying that the software was "optional" and could be uninstalled.

  • ethanolson
    What personality flaw do individuals in the Chinese government posess that causes them to walk down the path of ever-tightening control while simultaneously becoming more educated as to the potential damage of their choices to tighten the noose? Can they not think enough to figure out how to save face? Can't they just do something like claim "their people are better are the rest of the world and can therefore self-manage and the Chinese government can reduce costs and streamline its objectives... etc." That would be excellent.
  • MrBradley
    China in general is f*cked up.
  • Hanin33
    i think the reports coming out so fast and people pointing out the obvious workarounds show that resistance is futile. this type of censorship will not work. where there is a will, there is a way!
  • Pei-chen
    I can't believe you cited The Hindu. Why don't you cite a YouTube channel next time.
  • Upendra09
    there's nothing wrong with the Hindu.
  • okibrian
    "I love guugle" too. (note: the 'uu' was put in place of the jugs)

    No way in the world you can block ALL porn with a filter. No way at all. You can make it very very hard, but always a % will slip by.
  • astrodudepsu
    It's only a matter of time until the good people of China do something about this nonsense.
  • pocketdrummer
    Apparently the people of china aren't mature enough to decide for themselves what is ok to view on their own time...
  • SirCrono
    Pei-chenI can't believe you cited The Hindu. Why don't you cite a YouTube channel next time.Yhea, because it's not an american or european source it must suck right, I think it's time you pull your head out of your... well, you know.

    And regarding the news, China will eventually give up, they can't fight human nature forever.
  • zen master
    What a bunch of hypocrites, I just tried to type in some stuff at Baidu which is in china and tons of porn links come up! But do you here anything about a chinese search engine NO! Only USA bashing going on, what a bunch of punks. If your going to bash google get everyone including your own search engines hypocrites. 千万矛盾