Starting around 3:00 pm yesterday afternoon, some two-thirds of all Chinese internet traffic was re-routed to a website associated with Freegate, a VPN service linked to the Falun Gong religious movement and based out of the USA.
Sina, Baidu, Weibo, and other Chinese internet juggernauts were hit by the redirect, which was presumably caused by someone/some people sympathetic to either the Falun Gong movement or anti-censorship causes (or both). According to the Wall Street Journal:
Bill Xia, who created Dynamic Internet Technology [makers of Freegate] in 2001, said his company had nothing to do with the massive shift in traffic. Most likely, he said, the shift occurred as the result of a tweak to the Great Firewall by the Chinese government, which inadvertently sent a huge amount of traffic to his IP address. Normally, he said, that address is blocked in China.
“It was hundreds of thousands of users per second. They were sending [all of] China to us, so it’s hundreds of millions of users,” he said in a phone interview. ”It’s still ongoing. We didn’t see it die out. Maybe they fixed it for some part of China … but it’s still really heavy traffic.”
We have to side with Beijing Cream here: Why in the world would the Chinese government send people to a censorship avoidance software?
South China Morning Post sheds a bit more light on the situation, but not too much:
Some cyber security experts said the incident might have been an attack, carried out possibly by individuals or mainland or overseas organisations.
An internet security engineer with a major anti-virus company in Beijing said the incident could be a “showdown” with the authorities brought by anti-government activists overseas.
Another expert said: “The security of mainland websites is very poor and they have low awareness of protection. Even an individual could launch an attack.”
In short, nobody knows what the hell is going on, but something is definitely happening. We will post updates if any new information comes to light.