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Update #1,000,000: The NYT is definitely blocked, my cynical assumption that they were exaggerating the extent to which they were being censored was entirely misguided and incorrect.
Various China watchers both within and without the Great Firewall are reporting that the New York Times website has been blocked over its recent story on Wen Jiabao, “Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader“. This may or may not be the case [UPDATE: it’s probably blocked]..
According to reputable censorship aficionados Great Firewall of China, there are no problems accessing the NYT website:
There does seem to have been some “harmonizing” of the story on Weibo:
So now New York Times and 纽约时报 are blocked search terms on Weibo
— Jeremy Goldkorn 金玉米 (@goldkorn) October 26, 2012
It seems likely that many Western media outlets (who love a good ‘China censorship’ story) have heard that various NYT-related terms have been blocked on Weibo and jumped to the conclusion that the entire NYT website has been blocked. Many outside of China or unfamiliar with the vicissitudes of the CPC Propaganda Department may not realise how comparatively common the blocking of terms on Weibo actually is.
Finally, let’s not forget that the New York Times has a history of falsely crying censorship (and that nothing drives traffic to a story like saying people are trying to stop you reading it).
Update #1: Various people on Twitter have challenged my assertions that the NYT site is probably not blocked, nonetheless I prefer to believe the results of greatfirewallofchina.org’s tests (from servers based in China) than anecdotal evidence repeated ad nauseum. I have however removed my previous assertion that the NYT site could be suffering from traffic problems due to this story:
— Brian Glucroft (@BrianGlucroft) October 26, 2012
Update #2: Graham Webster at Transpacifica also takes me to task for allegedly claiming that the NYT isn’t blocked whatsoever. My original point, which I stand by, is that there isn’t conclusive proof that blocking is taking place, and the NYT has proven itself untrustworthy on this point in the past.
Update #3: It has been pointed out to me that greatfirewallofchina.org doesn’t detect reset connections which seems to be the problem most people are experiencing when they try to access the site. In the face of overwhelming anecdotal evidence I am retracting my initial scepticism about the NYT being blocked.
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