Wednesday, June 3, 2009

unprecedented internet censorship within china

Yesterday, the buzz among netizens was the blocking of foreign-language social networking and media sites, including Flickr and Twitter, in addition to existing blocks on Youtube and Blogspot. Hotmail and are also down.

Today, the net nanny turned to domestic Chinese sites, harmonizing a host of participatory Web 2.0 - blogging / microblogging / content generation / sharing, etc. - sites like Fanfou and Bullog.

However, unlike traditional blocks, in which trying to access a censored website simply yields a "failed to connect" or "connection interrupted" error message, these blocks are taking a different and new form: individual "maintenance" notices placed on the home page of each site. Each site's maintenance period has a definitive end point, unsurprisingly either June 5th or June 6th. Here is an example from Fanfou:

It seems some netizens have created a public spreadsheet tracking sites "under maintenance" (Chinese only), including the maintenance period dates for each site. It has been fascinating, frustrating, and depressing to watch the list grow in real time over the last hour or so. It will be even more fascinating to track Chinese reactions over the next couple of days.

At least one blogger is calling June 2nd GFW day (h/t Global Voices); in symbolism of being blocked I've changed the background of this blog to black. I'll revert back to white when and if blogspot is released within China.

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