As many of you would know by now, Youtube has been blocked in China. Looks like we got happy too soon about the unblocking of Blogspot.Danwei asks if the block has come as a result of the ongoing 17th Party Congress. Well, Marc van der Chijs, founder of the Shanghai-based Tudou.com, doesn’t think so:
The reason? Probably not directly the ongoing 17th National Congress in Beijing, then they would have blocked the site last week already (unless someone right now uploaded some video’s that would upset the government). I suspect the real reason might be that YouTube just launched a Chinese version, which would make the site much more accessible for Chinese users. Not a very smart idea to do that in the middle of the National Congress, and I am surprised nobody at mother company Google’s China offices rang an alarm bell about this before the launch. A typical example of the mistakes foreign companies make while trying to do business in China.
I hope for YouTube it is just a problem with their content delivery system or something similar, and not a real block. I don’t like sites to be blocked, even not those of our competitors. But it will be an interesting discussion point for our Tudou board meeting tomorrow, that’s for sure.
Well, Shanghaiist thinks he may have found another plausible reason why Youtube has been blocked. Look what we found on Google’s Video page (NB: Google has been Youtube’s parent company since last October.):
And by the way, the offending video has been up there for quite a while now. We first noticed it when Google China launched its own video search page, and we were comparing the two versions. Maybe China is really just giving Google a big tight slap.
Whatever the reasons might be, it really does suck, doesn’t it? The thought of having to depend on any other video-sharing alternatives (and don’t even get us started on the mainland Chinese options) just freaks us out as Youtube has been serving us so, so well. Friends in Thailand are now laughing at us for gloating over their misfortune when Youtube was blocked there for over three months earlier this year because someone had put up videos insulting the revered king and Youtube had refused to take them down, citing freedom of speech issues. It is anyone’s guess how long the Youtube block will last in China.
So how does one beat the Youtube block? Well apparently some guy in Thailand had asked the same question, and we weren’t too inspired by any of the answers. Firefox’s Gladder add-on which has been working wonderfully in helping us get to all the blocked websites here isn’t working for the Youtube vids although the page does load. We are getting really tired of this on-again off-again situation and may just whip out our credit card on Witopia for a personal VPN. Apparently it’s just US$39.99 per year and we’ve had quite a friends raving to us about it now. If any of you geeks out there have other fabulous ideas on how to beat the Youtube block, PLEASE get in touch with us at info AT shanghaiist DOT com.