Google.com Blocked, Again

Last night, Google.com/Gmail/AdSense and most of other Google property cannot be accessed in China. The whole Green Dam – Google China – Google.com story has unwind and reveal a clear path of censorship + propaganda. The whole story is very long, and there are thousands of articles (if not millions) on this. Let me quickly record the key event.

  • The Chinese Government requires all computer to ship with a porn-filtering software, Green Dam by July 1, 2009. The order came out 10 days before the deadline.
  • Netizen and computer manufacture reacted strong and criticized the censorship software.
  • Reverse engineering of the Green Dam shows it is not just a porn-filter software. Huge amount of politics related keywords are banned, including many foreign websites, and common word like “conscience”. It is further confirmed that the software directly used unlicensed code from Solid Ork.
  • Under the huge pressure of the netizen, the government used the method they used many many times, including 20 years ago – to create a media campaign to “educate” the whole nation to understand the situation.
  • CCTV used three major program “Evening News”, “Focus”, “News 1+1” to accuse Google for spreading porn content, and tell the nation that porn content has been everywhere and at finger tip of every child.
  • Xinhua News immediately commented that “Now it is the time to be conscious of the severity of the situation, and stop all argument immediately and take action.”
  • Immediately after the CCTV program was broadcast, people find out the college student being interviewed in the program is actually working as an intern in CCTV Focus program.
  • It is further revealed that the samples to accuse the Google Auto Suggestion feature was also fake. In the program, when you enter “Son”, Google suggested “Son Mother”, and other keywords. Look at the search query index, you find out that the terms were queried hundreds of times more than before since 2 days before the broadcast. The query mainly comes from Beijing in a precious machine generating pattern.
  • Google.cn was asked to stop suggestion tools, and stop searching any content outside of China. Google did.
  • Google.com and most other Google properties, including Google Mail, Google AdSense, Google Maps, Google Analytics… stopped working yesterday

Disclaimer: The events were from what I read and from my memory. Didn’t take the work to check every fact, or link to the source due to time constrain.

18 thoughts on “Google.com Blocked, Again”

  1. This government has no interest in improving Chinese people’s lives. The only thing they care is their own survival. Laws are not created to maintain justice but for the government to manipulate and persecute people when they feel the need to.

    “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history”

    I started to understand why some people were so irritated by what Obama said.

    So much for the People’s Republic. These leaders are just so very scared of their people.

  2. I’m wondering whether or not you can find the same ‘vulgar’ content on Baidu or other (Chinese or foreign search engines) and whether or not the motivation behind these attacks on Google are to protect Baidu’s home country competitive advantage?

  3. Hi Jian Shuo – hope u, Wendy and Yifan are keeping well… just wanted to let you know that yesterday an article was posted on the Singapore OMY website – short interview with me as a finalist for the 2009 SG Blog Awards… one question was around which bloggers I admire / look up to (anywhere around the world) – no surprise I spoke of you and your blog. Take a look at their article: http://blog.omy.sg/sgblogawards/archives/491

    Kind regards,

    Pete

  4. very stupid and mind-bogling for them to waste vast amounts of resources, money, time, people; imagine they devote all this effort to fight poverty and corruption!

  5. The ‘Big Brother’ have watched enough of you!

    Now he is placing the netizen in the ‘Room 101’ for the ‘love’ from the Party Bureau.

  6. Dear Mr. Wang,

    I noticed a small typo – at the end of bullet point 3, the name of the company is Solid Oak, not Solid Ork.

  7. The world has changed. Yes, I agree that alot of things that internet has done to influence the younger generation. Some are good and some are bad. So there should be some kind of control. Pornography, on-line gaming and propaganda has drastic bad influence to the pc kids. Foreign media sometimes also play some bad role especially on new reporting, and you know why. One example is the Tian’anmen incident which was brought back again and again, and for what purpose ??? Let be gone and be gone. What good can it do ? Let China handle it’s past problem alone. What past is past. Nobody would want it to happen in that way. It’s useless to propagate the incident and provote the younger generations. So, the only way to stop this “free press’ is by blocking the news. That’s the best for the Chinese at least.

    Do you encourage free porn just like the west ? I believe no. We are chinese with lots of culture and tradition. Do not let the west to influence our culture. One of our culture which is practice all over the world is to respect our elders especially the elderly people. That is our gem and most precious assets.

    Just to share with you some culture brought into China by the west which I personally experience. I was in Beijing early this month and stayed a night at Peking Youth Hostel. The hostel staff put me in a small sharing room with a young western lady. 2-in a room. I was shocked this Peking Youth Hostel with so much chinese designed (courth house) can do such an arrangement. I asked for another dorm, no mix. They say this is their way they operate. They gave me a kind of look as if I am so backwards. Is this what you call modernization ? Puting aside our own precious customs and adopt the west ? And worst of all, the western girl sleeps with only her panty and a tight T-shirt !!!

    So, what I am trying to say is .. China is doing her very best for it’s people. Don’t complaint. China has grow and is developing and has proven to the whole world. Of course along the way, there are some who might have a sore eye to see this happening !

    What they are doing is for people’s own good.

  8. very sad to read kbguy’s comments, but so many young chinese think that way as well! imagine these kinds of people leading the country in the future…china is hopeless if these people obtain power :-(

  9. I have to agree with Tony, kbguy’s comments are painful to read. I know that kbguy’s comments can’t be used to blanketly understand the thoughts of an entire nation, and Jianshuo is definitive proof that there are intelligent and level Chinese populating the Internet with more than ignorant rhetoric, but man… you can only read comments like kbguy’s so many times before it starts souring an otherwise open-minded and hopeful view about China.

    @kbguy: 1. Porn is NOT a Western import. Pornography has existed in China as long, and probably much longer, than it has in the West. This “protect the sanctity of our glorious culture and traditions” is BS – straight-up naive BS.

    China may be doing its best for its people, but that’s no reason for those people not to demand more, lest “China” get lazy and forget that China IS its people. Also, please don’t assume that all Westerners that take a critical eye towards China “have a sore eye” towards China’s development. Governments care about the power and might of other nations – citizens rarely do – most Westerners are happy to hear that China is developing, changing and adopting a more modern and free society.

    And finally, if you don’t prefer to stay with young, tight-shirted, pantie wearing Western girls; stay in a non-YOUTH-plagued single-occupancy hotel – where you will surely get a number of nightcalls for those traditional and cultural “extra services”.

  10. @kbguy, are you part of the 50 cent army?

    Only half-joking…

    In this regard, being aware that there are supposedly lots of people who get paid when writing such kinds of comments, makes it very difficult to take such comments seriously. Again an example of how media manipulation can fail in today’s age.

  11. I respect you gals and guys opinion. As I said earlier or in any which way, there are good and bad part, advantage and diadvantage of internet. But there should be some form of control. To satisfy all will be a tough one. And i agree there are good westerners and bad westerners and also good asian and bad asian. Maybe I said it the wrong way and that confuse some of you fellas. However, the end point is that.. pick up the good habit and throw away the bad ones.

    last but not least, stay happy and stay inteligent. And thanks to those who responded to my comment, No hard feelings. It need 2 to make a dialoque.And make it a happy and interesting one. Be it alive !!

  12. @kbguy, as always, thanks for sharing your thought, although other readers and me don’t agree on what you said. It is not about control itself. It is all about who do it. Is it a government reflecting the will of the people, or someone who got the power because of historical reasons. I also suspect that conscious people collectively won’t lean to the control part – freedom is part of human right that everyone has.

  13. Looks like Google is back on. Did they ‘bend the knee’ or ‘prostrate’ themselves sufficiently this time?

  14. Interesting posts by kbguy. It’s almost as if they were written by two different people. The first one frightens me with its demonising stereotypes about ‘The West’ while the second post seems to have some intent of understanding or even reconciliation.

    A minor point, but still: Did porn originate in the west, kbguy? ‘Encourage free porn’, what the h*ll are you talking about? Thanks, Ryan, for mentioning the ‘special services’ you always offered at Chinese hotels. Random street corner in Guangzhou yesterday evening: You want a massage, sir?

    Kbguy, I do appreciate your issue with respect for the elderly, ‘the elderly’ being your parents or indeed anyone older than yourself. But what is your point, really? Respect is a virtue in all cultures, isn’t it? Are you familiar with the origins and development of the ‘youth movement’ in the western world, with James Dean in the 1950s and the student riots in the 1960s? It comes down to a struggle for integrity and individual freedom, something I believe people all over the world value (although we enjoy it to different degrees). You might be correct in claiming that the pendulum may have swung too far in some places, but it will surely swing back, don’t you think?

    When it comes to censorship and propaganda, it is also a matter of degrees. Consider the way certain European governments use the public broadcasters to educate the public, in a fashion (ignoring content) similar to the way the Chinese government uses broadcasters and billboards all over cities, villages, buses, etc, etc, to ‘educate’ the public. And then ask yourself how Europeans appreciate this kind of public education.

    Your statement ‘there should be some form of control’ is interesting. Jian Shuo points out the delicate issue, who performs the control? Do you have a straightforward answer to that? You are aware that control is exerted all the time everywhere (ref. Windows SW allowing parents to restrict their children’s freedom on the web). Can you trust the one who is controlling you? And in whose interest are they controlling you? Is the control performed under any form of independent accountability?

    Just some things to think about. My point in this is (in allegiance to Noahpinion’s comment to this interesting article [http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/23/china-martin-jacques-economics] on guardian.co.uk), the hell with the differences and the polemic rants. Let’s stop making statements like ‘Do not let the west to influence our culture’ (I’m happy to collect lessons from the Chinese to enrich my own culture) and talk about how we can bridge the gap between our brainwashed minds (on BOTH sides).

    T

  15. I think kbguy speaks for the “collective consciousness” of the controlling freaks; in that aspect, we can deduce “he” was paid to write that junk

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