Understanding Wikipedia’s Re-Block

Wikipedia was blocked again in China this morning between 9am and 10am local time. A new user registration chart, plotted by hour, shows exactly when the block occurred (ie. the red dot). The open nature of Wikipedia and its public log files made this quite easy to determine.

Wikipedia statistics - Reblocked Nov 17

The chart shows UTC time (ie. time in London) making the black vertical lines correspond to 8am (UTC+8) in Beijing and all of China.

Some observations:

  • On a typical day, traffic starts to climb at 9am when people start work/study and traffic starts falling just after midnight.
  • Just before the re-block, there were a record 1823 new user registrations in a 24 hour period. That’s more than one new person per minute on average. This is a significant jump from the 1200-1300 per day on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Even with the block reinstituted, there may still be some PRC folks who can get through. There are about 40 new user registrations per hour right now, whereas a sampling of October 6, when completely blocked in the PRC, showed 20 new users per hour. It is hard to tell without additional stats.

To the media, and folks who have been checking this site for stories, please do wait another day before drawing too many conclusions. The Great Firewall is a distributed system, and not a monolithic one. It will take some time to figure out the state of affiars, and it is not unusual for access to be in flux over a number of days.

Theories Abound

Meanwhile, there has been casual speculation why a block might have been reinstituted.

One story being passed around — yesterday a reporter asked about the unblocking at the regular Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference in Beijing. The response from the PRC spokeswoman was, “I do not know the details of the web site you mentioned,” and a standard rundown of China’s Internet statistics. It’s one of the rare times you’ll see Wikipedia mentioned in an official Chinese government transcript:

Q: 此外,去年10月以来一直被封杀的维基百科中文网站上周得以解禁,你对此有何评论?
Q: The Chinese website of Wikipedia, which had been blocked since last October, was unblocked last week, do you have any comments?

A: 我不清楚你提到的具体网站情况。中国政府积极支持和促进互联网的发展。截止2005年,中国上网用户已超过1.23亿人,中国网站数量达78.8万个。中国已成为世界第二大互联网国家。我们依法对互联网进行管理,这也是世界各国通行的做法。
A: I do not know the details about the website you mentioned. The Chinese [PRC] government actively supports and promotes the development of Internet. By 2005, there have been over 123 million Internet users and 788,000 websites in China. China has become the second largest country for Internet in the world. We oversee the Internet according to laws, this is also what every country in the world does commonly.

That’s the official line. Some Wikipedians have suggested that asking in a high profile press conference might have gotten the site re-examined by higher level folks, and thereby reblocked. Perhaps it was a lower level person who initiated the unblocking, and a higher level person wanted it blocked. This is all speculation. There is no way to know at this point.

34 thoughts on “Understanding Wikipedia’s Re-Block

  1. Fi,
    I’m trying to confirm this information.
    If true, it’s a very very bad news.
    Whatever may happens next, thanks to Wikipedia for refusing self-censorship.
    Reporters Wihtout Borders

  2. I have nothing to say, and nothing to complain, because I . After I said Wikipedia is unblocked yesterday, it’s no more than one day that Wikipedia blocked again in Fujian district.

  3. I have nothing to say, and nothing to complain, because I have been dumb with the situations that blocked-unblocked-reblocked on Wikipedia. After I said Wikipedia is unblocked yesterday, it’s no more than one day that Wikipedia blocked again in Fujian district.

  4. don’t worry. wikipedia may be blocked but that doesn’t prevent chinese people from obtaining knowledge. we still have lots of other encylopedias on the internet.

  5. Pingback: Andrew Lih » Blog Archive » How many Chinese users familiar with Wiki?

  6. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » China: wikipedia blocked, unblocked and reblocked

  7. 这就叫”打太极“了。答完之后你才会发现回答是跟问题完全武关的。ZF最懂得这样回答问题。

    Q: 此外,去年10月以来一直被封杀的维基百科中文网站上周得以解禁,你对此有何评论?

    A: 我不清楚你提到的具体网站情况。中国政府积极支持和促进互联网的发展。截止2005年,中国上网用户已超过1.23亿人,中国网站数量达78.8万个。中国已成为世界第二大互联网国家。我们依法对互联网进行管理,这也是世界各国通行的做法。

  8. 奈良の信頼で
    奈良 お葬式をする時

  9. Microsofot Technet (EN) Microsofot nos deja ciertos ebooks de
    tecnología y software sin costo para descargar en formato pdf para leer on-line.

  10. I think this is among the most significant info for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The website style is perfect, the
    articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  11. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a little research on this.

    And he actually bought me dinner because I found it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this matter here on your web site.

  12. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????(??????)???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  13. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but
    I find this matter to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.

    I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of

  14. There are tons of security applications that you can download,
    others are free while some are for a price. Video messaging service
    also notifies blogs subscribers about any new posts on
    the subscribed blog to keep the users informed. The Xperia SP has a number of features that Sony
    have added to enhance the user experience
    which all add to the usability of the phone.

  15. Chances are they won’t be there for playing but they can always register there
    appearance as tourists in the picturesque South Africa.
    All of these kicks will start with the same principle, plant your non kicking
    foot next to the ball (not in front and not behind).
    Finishing is a very important aspect of the game and all players benefit from learning finishing skills.

  16. Its not my first time to visit this web site,
    i am visiting this web site dailly and get nice information from here everyday.

  17. Comprar y leer un libro electrónico en España es tal y como si entraras en una librería,
    y para darte el libro te dijesen que tienes que
    vendarte los ojos y saltar a la pata coja mientras que das vueltas sobre ti mismo, dejando claro que si
    en algún momento te mareas y te caes, te quedas sin dinero y sin libro.

  18. Chiropractors are trained to give you exercises that will
    help you stretch your muscles and strengthen them.
    Known for its constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement,
    it sets itself apart as a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized
    fitness domains:. Contrary to popular belief, sitting, which most people believe is relaxing, is hard on the back.

  19. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation however
    I in finding this matter to be really one thing which I think I would never
    understand. It seems too complex and extremely wide for me.
    I’m taking a look forward to your next publish, I’ll try to get the cling of it!

  20. Thank you for another fantastic article. The place else may anybody get that kind of info in such an ideal means of writing?
    I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m at the search
    for such information.

  21. Although a large community and split by the I-15 freeway, Rancho Bernardo
    continues to take the extra step to make the neighborhood nicer for
    the community. There are tax advantages built
    around the strategy and baby boomers have flocked
    to this strategy over the years. My father
    would compare it to the structure of his ship in the Navy during World War II.

  22. You could definitely see your enthusiasm
    in the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who
    are not afraid to mention how they believe.
    At all times go after your heart.

  23. One is the exterior roof, where the shingles and protective roofing layers
    protect the second layer or the interior roof.
    Even if you saw their ad in a respected publication, always look for references from friends, colleagues or family members for a firsthand account
    of the quality of service the company provides. You always have
    to keep watch on developing storms and their projected paths.

  24. Hi my family member! I want to say that this article is amazing, great written and come with approximately all vital infos.
    I would like to see extra posts like this .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>