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 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 Sharing English 2011, May (or earlier) to present 
1 Google Drive Sharing English 2012, May to present 
1 Google Encrypted Search English 2011, March to present (or earlier)
1 Google+ Social English 2011, July to present 
1 Google Sites Web Hosting English 2011, March (or earlier) to present
1 Picasa Sharing English 2009, July to present
2 Facebook Social English 2008, July to present
3 YouTube Sharing English 2009, March to present
4 Yahoo! Taiwan Portal Chinese 2011, May (or before) to present
4 Yahoo! Hong Kong Portal Chinese 2011, March (or before) to present
6 Mobile Wikipedia Other English 2011, May (or earlier) to 2012
8 Twitter Social English 2009, June to present
11 Blogspot Blog English 2009, May to 2012
16 Yahoo! Japan Portal Japanese 2012, June 15 - 17
20 Other English 2011, May (or earlier) to 2012
21 Google Japan Search Japanese 2012, June 15 - 17
22 Wordpress Blog English 2011, October to 2012
47 Internet Movie Database Other English 2010, January (or earlier) to 2012
51 XVideos Adult English 2011, March (or earlier) to present
52 FC2 Blog Japanese 2011, March (or earlier) to 2012
54 xhamster Adult English 2011, March (or earlier) to 2012
71 The Pirate Bay Sharing English 2012, February (or earlier) to 2012
75 Rakuten Market Shopping Japanese 2012, June 15 - 17, September ?? to 19?
94 Amazon Japan Shopping Japanese 2012, June 15 - 17
112 Vimeo Sharing English 2009, October to 2012
219 Nico Video Sharing Japanese Unknown to present
223 Other English 2011, April (or earlier) to 2012
225 Scribd Sharing English 2011, February (or earlier) to present
227 isoHunt Sharing English 2012, April to 2012; also previously blocked and unblocked
257 XING Social German 2011, April (or earlier) to 2012
277 hardsextube Adult English 2011, April to 2012
282 drtuber Adult English 2011, April to 2012
429 Wretch Blog Chinese 2007, August to 2012

553 Google Appspot Web Hosting English Unknown to present
564 Yomiuri News Publication Japanese 2012,

June 15 - 17
610 Sharing English 2011,

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

June 15 - 17
660 Nikkei BP Japan Publication Japanese 2012,

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

 to 2012
2056 Plurk Social English 2009, April to 2012
2387 Jehovah's Witnesses Bible English Unknown to Unknown (no longer blocked) 
2925 Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation News Norwegian 2011,

May (or earlier) to 2012
3876 PBworks Sharing English 2011, January to 2012
4480 Sony Japan Corporation Japanese 2012, June 15 - 17
10278 Boxun News Chinese 2011,

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

May (or earlier) to 2012
22196 Sony Music Japan Record label Japanese 2012, June 15 - 17
24693 OpenVPN Privacy English 2011, June (or earlier) to 2012
33553 Strong VPN Privacy English 2011, June to present (partially blocked)
33961 Amnesty International NGO English 2011,

May (or earlier) to 2012
63913 UrbanSurvival Blog Blog English 2013, April 2 (or earlier) 
71304 Reporters Without Borders NGO English 2011,

April (or earlier) to 2012
78873 Falun Dafa Religious English 2011, February (or earlier) to 2012
1413995 VPN Coupons VPN English 2012,

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

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