Recently Unblocked in China…

It seems yesterday’s dispatch of sites being spontaneously unblocked was part of a larger move. Today, Hu Jintao held a rare pow-wow of media outlets in the wake of Internet restrictions being eased. From the WSJ:

The 66-year-old Mr. Hu’s appearance before foreign reporters Friday was a rare move into the public spotlight for a leader who has long shunned it. Mr. Hu has never given a news conference in China or abroad.

From the BBC:

Hosting the Games showed China’s desire for peaceful global ties, he said.

His comments came amid apparent concessions by Beijing in a row over internet access for journalists.

More sites which had been blocked in Olympic media centres – such as that of rights group Amnesty International – were accessible on Friday, journalists said.

Here’s a rather representative list of sites that are now available in China, which include newspaper, magazine and NGO web sites previously hard blocked. This is taken from some that were sent on a recent Great Firewall list, and some I’ve added.

This is actually quite remarkable for folks living in China. The “Big Three” NGOs that have been unrelenting critics of China have been reliably blocked for years. YZZK (Yazhou Zhoukan) and Apple Daily both in Hong Kong, have done some of the most critical journalism regarding China.
RSF, acknowledging the good news, doesn’t take much time to celebrate and continues to push hard.

“This partial lifting of censorship shows that the Chinese government is not completely insensitive to pressure. If the entire world had been pressuring China since 2001, even before these games were assigned to Beijing, the situation might have been different today. And perhaps imprisoned journalists would have been freed before the opening ceremony.

Let’s be clear though: these unblocked sites are still subject to the sophisticated keyword blocking system of the GFW, which looks at both URLs and the body of web sites. The sites above are no longer blocked, as a rule, but the content on the site might still trigger a block. On the plus side, it seems the keyword filtering of the GFW seems to be less sensitive than normal, but the big taboo subjects are still blocked quickly.

NBC Nightly News did a piece on the blocking yesterday (July 31). I was amused when Danwei‘s Jeremy Goldkorn was on camera demonstrating how to use a virtual private network and noted that living with the net nanny wasn’t that big a deal.

Goldkorn: “I don’t see that it’s really going to impede anybody’s work.”
NBC: “Do you think the foreign media is just whining a little bit?”
Goldkorn: “Yeah. Absolutely they’re whining.”

I suppose one could make the argument that leaving the restricted GFW “harmonized” Internet as-is would have given foreign journalists a real taste of what China’s Internet users deal with every day. Now, they get a freed-up, “special” Internet to do their job and this issue goes away for the next three weeks. The question is, after the party’s over, will any of the sites above stay unblocked.

33 thoughts on “Recently Unblocked in China…

  1. Pingback: The Wikipedia Blog » Blog Archive » Wikipedia unblocked in China!

  2. Pingback: China Journal : Best of the China Blogs: August 4

  3. See, I think the more we crow about VPNs making everything available, the larger invitation we are sending Net Nanny and her coven of witches to shut that particular gate in the GFW.

    Or am I just being paranoid?

  4. Pingback: The Wikipedia Blog » Blog Archive » What’s really going on in China

  5. Andrew,

    Very interesting.

    You confirmed what I had suspected about the so-called coming down of the Great Firewall.

    In fact, as you suggest, many of the sites remain partially unavailable.

    I hope someone does an analysis so we can see what is really opened up.


  6. David,

    As I understand it, it would be impossible to block off all VPN services, although individual services could be blocked.

    So W*t*p*a, which has been widely written about and which advertises on, may well be blocked, despite the fact that you need a foreign credit card to pat for the service.

    But there are a bunch of other providers… If you have Amex or Visa, there’s nothing to worry about.

    Let’s hope I don’t have to eat my words.

  7. The VPN hole has been there forever and there is no way that this is going to get blocked without every foreign company in China screaming.

    My guess is that things will remain relatively open until after the Olympics when things will get blocked again after the cameras leave.

  8. Pingback: Global Voices in Italiano » Cina: L’elenco dei siti sbloccati in occasione delle Olimpiadi

  9. Pingback: Nart Villeneuve

  10. Dear Mr. Lih

    Good day!

    Im Francis Christian Lubag, a research associate from China Business Philippines magazine. We are currently working on an article regarding internet censorship in China.

    Upon looking for data on the sites recently unblocked by the government for the Olympics, I found that your list is the most comprehensive one (to date, at least).

    With this, I’d like to ask for permission if we can use the list of unblocked sites that you’ve published for our news article. Please expect that you will be cited as the source of that information.

    Please e-mail me at or at Thank you very much and Im looking forward to your positive response.

    Francis Christian Lubag
    research associate

  11. Andrew:

    Thank you for your report. Does any ever gather ip or network information about the GFW? Is there any place to look for this kind of technical spec (can be used for ip scanning, etc)? You can reply to my email. Thanks!

  12. Pingback: More internet freedom in China, for how long? « Undercurrent

  13. Great beat ! I would like to apprentice whilst you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a applicable deal. I had been a little bit familiar of this your broadcast offered shiny transparent concept.

  14. What i don’t understood is actually how you’re not really much more well-liked than you may be now. You’re very intelligent. You realize therefore considerably relating to this subject, made me personally consider it from numerous varied angles. Its like women and men aren’t fascinated unless it is one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs outstanding. Always maintain it up!

  15. Hello there I am so glad I found your blog, I really found you by error, while I was looking on Aol for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a tremendous post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the fantastic job.

  16. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  17. Fantastically excellent bless you, It is my opinion your trusty followers may well want more information such as this keep up the terrific effort.

  18. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to
    come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?
    Superb work!

  19. Hello! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for
    this website? I’m getting tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform.

    I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  20. If some one wants to be updated with hotteset technologies adter that hee must
    bee ppay a visit this site aand be up to date
    every day.

  21. I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both
    equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
    The issue is something not enough folks are speaking intelligently about.
    Now i’m very happy I came across this in my search for something concerning this.

  22. This will get you traffic to your site and make money.
    Today, lots of websites and blogs bring in unheard of income for
    their owners merely by promoting another’s company on their web pages.

    It’s probably some mix of the two, so I have to
    give him props for not going too far in either direction.

  23. In this great design of things you get a B- just for hard work. Where you actually lost everybody was first on all the particulars. You know, people say, details make or break the argument.. And it could not be more accurate in this article. Having said that, allow me say to you exactly what did work. The article (parts of it) is certainly rather convincing and that is possibly the reason why I am taking an effort to opine. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, whilst I can certainly notice the jumps in reason you make, I am not really convinced of how you seem to unite your points which inturn produce the actual conclusion. For now I shall yield to your point however trust in the future you actually link the dots better.

  24. I’m commenting to let you know what a exceptional experience my wife’s child enjoyed viewing your webblog. She picked up many details, with the inclusion of what it’s like to have an amazing giving mindset to make a myriad of men and women effortlessly have an understanding of a variety of specialized subject matter. You honestly inspired her. Thank you for offering the critical, safe, edifying not to mention effortless pointers regarding your subject to Evelyn. Thanks,

  25. Hi there, just became aware of your weblog by way of Google, and identified that it is truly informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I is going to be grateful if you continue this in future. Numerous people will likely be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  26. Soy un usuario que tambien a sido engañado por fnac,compre un ipad y todo a ido bien hasta que con año y medio se apaga y no se enciende lo llevo pensando en que esta en garantia y se lo dejo en la tienda para su reparacion,supuestamente en garantia hasta que me llaman del servicio de reparacion de ellos y me dicen que no pueden arreglal porque la pantalla no es de appel y no entra en garantia,se me que da una cara de gilipollas enorme y le digo que finac entonces me ha vendido un ipad pirata.

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>