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Thursday, July 4, 2013

3 Main Reasons Why the Chinese Government Blocks Popular Social Websites


Before we start, let’s find out which websites are being blocked by the Great FireWall of China (aka GFW): Google International, Blogger, Flickr, MySpace, YouTube, Plurk, Wikipedia, HotMail, MSN International, Live Search, Bing, Twitter, etc.
As a Chinese, I am very disappointed about the GFW. When I was in China, I could not even gain access to the Chinese version of Wikipedia to research on my school projects. There are still many Internet users out there who are not aware or puzzled why the Chinese government ‘loves’ blocking popular websites. Well, below are three main reasons why

Reason 1: Competitions
Without blocking Google, Baidu cannot succeed. Without blocking Wikipedia, Hoodong cannot succeed. Without blocking Blogger, Blogcn cannot succeed. Without blocking YouTube, Youku cannot succeed. These huge International Internet Companies do not need to pay taxes to China Government, but the Internet Companies in China do pay taxes. The Chinese government wants to make more money, so and to boost their GDP. In addition, they want to “protect” China websites and hence blocking successful International websites.

Reason 2: Sensitive Contents
The main reason of blocking Blogger.com is that many people rant and post repugnant comments regarding the China Government on their Blogger hosted blogs. Of course the government does not want more people to know about this, especially readers outside mainland China as it will give them a negative impression about the country. With powers in their hands, they make use of the GFW to block it. In addition, the GFW is extremely sensitive when it comes to pornography contents. The reason of blocking Google International is that netizens in China can search pornography images via Google Images when the default setting of SafeSearch is off.

Reason 3: National Security
The government would not allow people to discuss about the various political parties or the government in those International Websites, because they do not have the ability to control them. Do not think that starting an Internet Company in China and creating websites is an easy task. If your website contains sensitive content, the Chinese authorities will not hesitate and demand you to remove the information at once; otherwise, your server will be confiscated for about 3 months. It is quite easy for them to control the Internet Media in China, but they are not able to touch the social web on an international level such as Facebook and Twitter.
These are the three major reasons of why the government blocks websites. Currently, the Chinese authorities can control all Chinese websites. If they notice any unsuitable content posted on the Internet, they can demand users to delete, or they just simply block it. Few months ago, there are some cases about blocking .CN domain names; even .CN domain names are dangerous under the governmental control.
It is quite strange for me to complain about my home country in this Singapore-based tech blog. My main objective today is to let everyone know that the Chinese government blocked websites not because of the Monopoly of ChinaLAN, but because of the taxes, contents and security. China is not as open and limits freedom of speech as compared to most Western countries. As a result, the Internet Life in China cannot be that wonderful, and I hope everyone can understand that blocking website is indeed the last resort to control the Internet in China.


Table of high-ranking websites blocked in China

Alexa Rank Website Domain UR
Category Primary language Duration of blockage
1 Google Docs google.com docs.google.com Sharing English 2011, May (or earlier) to present 
1 Google Drive google.com drive.google.com Sharing English 2012, May to present 
1 Google Encrypted google.com encrypted.google.com Search English 2011, March to present (or earlier)
1 Google+ google.com plus.google.com Social English 2011, July to present 
1 Google Sites google.com sites.google.com Web Hosting English 2011, March (or earlier) to present
1 Picasa google.com picasaweb.google.com Sharing English 2009, July to present
2 Facebook facebook.com www.facebook.com Social English 2008, July to present
3 YouTube youtube.com www.youtube.com Sharing English 2009, March to present
4 Yahoo! Taiwan yahoo.com tw.yahoo.com Portal Chinese 2011, May (or before) to present
4 Yahoo! Hong Kong yahoo.com hk.yahoo.com Portal Chinese 2011, March (or before) to present
6 Mobile Wikipedia wikipedia.org mobile.wikipedia.org Other English 2011, May (or earlier) to 2012
8 Twitter twitter.com twitter.com Social English 2009, June to present
11 Blogspot blogspot.com blogspot.com Blog English 2009, May to 2012
16 Yahoo! Japan yahoo.co.jp yahoo.co.jp Portal Japanese 2012, June 15 - 17
20 T.co t.co t.co Other English 2011, May (or earlier) to 2012
21 Google Japan google.co.jp google.co.jp Search Japanese 2012, June 15 - 17
22 Wordpress wordpress.com wordpress.com Blog English 2011, October to 2012
47 Internet Movie Database imdb.com www.imdb.com Other English 2010, January (or earlier) to 2012
51 XVideos xvideos.com www.xvideos.com Adult English 2011, March (or earlier) to present
52 FC2 fc2.com www.fc2.com Blog Japanese 2011, March (or earlier) to 2012
54 xhamster xhamster.com www.xhamster.com Adult English 2011, March (or earlier) to 2012
71 The Pirate Bay thepiratebay.se thepiratebay.se Sharing English 2012, February (or earlier) to 2012
75 Rakuten Market rakuten.co.jp rakuten.co.jp Shopping Japanese 2012, June 15 - 17, September ?? to 19?
94 Amazon Japan amazon.co.jp amazon.co.jp Shopping Japanese 2012, June 15 - 17
112 Vimeo vimeo.com www.vimeo.com Sharing English 2009, October to 2012
219 Nico Video nicovideo.jp nicovideo.jp Sharing Japanese Unknown to present
223 Archive.org archive.org www.archive.org Other English 2011, April (or earlier) to 2012
225 Scribd scribd.com scribd.com Sharing English 2011, February (or earlier) to present
227 isoHunt isohunt.com isohunt.com Sharing English 2012, April to 2012; also previously blocked and unblocked
257 XING xing.com www.xing.com Social German 2011, April (or earlier) to 2012
277 hardsextube hardsextube.com www.hardsextube.com Adult English 2011, April to 2012
282 drtuber drtuber.com www.drtuber.com Adult English 2011, April to 2012
429 Wretch wretch.cc www.wretch.cc Blog Chinese 2007, August to 2012

553 Google Appspot appspot.com appspot.com Web Hosting English Unknown to present
564 Yomiuri News yomiuri.co.jp yomiuri.co.jp Publication Japanese 2012,

June 15 - 17
610 Ustream.tv ustream.tv www.ustream.tv Sharing English 2011,

April (or earlier) to 2012
623 excite (Japan) excite.co.jp excite.co.jp Portal Japanese 2012, June 15 to June 17, September ?? - 18
633 Sponichi News sponichi.co.jp sponichi.co.jp Publication Japanese 2012,

June 15 - 17
660 Nikkei BP Japan nikkeibp.co.jp nikkeibp.co.jp Publication Japanese 2012,

June 15 - 17
713 geocities (Japan) geocities.jp geocities.jp Web Hosting Japanese Unknown to present
1321 Technorati technorati.com www.technorati.com Search English 2008, July

 to 2012
2056 Plurk plurk.com www.plurk.com Social English 2009, April to 2012
2387 Jehovah's Witnesses jw.org www.jw.org Bible English Unknown to Unknown (no longer blocked) 
2925 Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation nrk.no www.nrk.no News Norwegian 2011,

May (or earlier) to 2012
3876 PBworks pbworks.com pbworks.com Sharing English 2011, January to 2012
4480 Sony Japan sony.co.jp sony.co.jp Corporation Japanese 2012, June 15 - 17
10278 Boxun boxun.com boxun.com News Chinese 2011,

May (or earlier) to present
20898 Wikileaks wikileaks.org wikileaks.org NGO English 2011,

May (or earlier) to 2012
22196 Sony Music Japan sonymusic.co.jp sonymusic.co.jp Record label Japanese 2012, June 15 - 17
24693 OpenVPN openvpn.net www.openvpn.net Privacy English 2011, June (or earlier) to 2012
33553 Strong VPN strongvpn.com www.strongvpn.com Privacy English 2011, June to present (partially blocked)
33961 Amnesty International amnesty.org amnesty.org NGO English 2011,

May (or earlier) to 2012
63913 UrbanSurvival Blog urbansurvival.com www.urbansurvival.com Blog English 2013, April 2 (or earlier) 
71304 Reporters Without Borders rsf.org www.rsf.org NGO English 2011,

April (or earlier) to 2012
78873 Falun Dafa falundafa.org www.falundafa.org Religious English 2011, February (or earlier) to 2012
1413995 VPN Coupons vpncoupons.com www.vpncoupons.com VPN English 2012,

December (or earlier) to 2012
1795401 Tibet Post thetibetpost.com thetibetpost.com News English, Chinese, Tibetan 2010, March (or earlier) to 2012


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