Yesterday when Youtube released its Hong Kong / Traditional Chinese version, I could still access Youtube normally, but this morning when I woke up, I found that it had been bummed (I’m on Guangzhou Telecom ADSL). Comments on yesterday’s post from readers suggest they experienced the same thing. I don’t really know how to respond to this, except that one word will suffice: FUCK!!!
Even weirder stuff than the Youtube block seems to have been happening, though. Apparently, for a short while on the 17th, before the Youtube block occurred, blogsearch.google.com and live.com were both redirected to Baidu! Blogsearch.google.cn was totally inaccessible. This has been confirmed by Ken Wong (see screencaps on his blog) and other Chinese netizens. Google Blogoscoped reported that yet more exotic pages like search.ibm.com.cn were also being hijacked to Baidu.
In the meanwhile, of course things have reverted back to normal, but the news had already found its way tech superblog TechCrunch, which put up a post under the dramatic headline Cyberwar: China Declares War On Western Search Sites, attracting the ire of netizens within China who didn’t find Google Blogsearch hi-jacked and who didn’t know it really did happen for a short while. Okay, we love TechCrunch, but they really aren’t the best source of China Internet news. Earlier this month, they had a big boo-boo linking up to Ars Technica and reporting that China has instituted a blanket ban on all RSS feeds, which of course isn’t true. (John Kennedy has an excellent recap of how far the rumour within a short period of time.)
Back to the Youtube block, here were other blogger reactions:
- Imagethief notes that second-tier video sharing site Revver.com has been blocked too, and points us to not one, but two posts he wrote previously for CnetAsia.
- Visiting blogger, Debbie Weil of Blog Write for CEO’s discovers to her horror and shock the video interviews she uploaded are no longer accessible in China.
- All Roads Lead to China has some practical advice, and they’re suggesting we use the Foxy Proxy plugin on Firefox.
- Other China bloggers who commented on the Youtube block included Panda Passport (who “pinged pornotube.com for shits and giggles”), Chris Amico, China Webmasters, Thomas Crampton and Transpacifica.
- Foreign websites that noted the block include Techworld.nl, FlumesDay and yes, even the Committee to Protect Journalists. Google Blogsearch tells us where else the story has gone.
We’ve had lots of people emailing us yesterday telling us how to beat the Youtube block. Thanks to all of you who got in touch, but special thanks goes out to reader Phil / YY Huang who informed us of VPN service Hotspot Shield. It works, and best of all, it’s FREE! They make you see ads while you’re at it, but hey that’s a really small price to pay if you want to get your fill of all the deliciously subversive and dissident sites you want in the world!