Saturday, March 27, 2004

Blogspot Blogs Unblocked (Updated)

I think it's official now; Blogspot blogs have been unblocked by China. At first I didn't think it was true because people in certain areas still could not access the blogs, but it is true. I've already had two visitors from China, something I thought would never happen. Ever since I learned about the blockage, I didn't think the Chinese government would change its mind. How do they decide these things? Does a group of officials just sit in a board room and say, "Oh, let's loosen up our restrictions on this blog host, people can still get to the blogs anyways." If that's the case, then why block internet sites at all? Maybe it's just a way to let people know that their government doesn't want them to access certain content, and if they get into trouble because of those sites, the government can just say, "See, we told you so."

I'm stretching this because I can't fathom why the government even bothers to block major hosting services. I understand that there are things the government doesn't want people to know about, but filtering the internet is extremely difficult. As soon as Typepad was blocked people were already finding ways to get around the firewalls and spreading that information. If China continues to block millions of websites (mainly blogs), then everybody is going to know how to get around the firewalls. So much for "protecting" citizens.

What complicates the issue more is why Blogcn and Blogbus were shut down and then reopened in less than two weeks. The point of doing that was... Also, the points of blocking Typepad and unblocking Blogspot remain a mystery. I hope this means that Typepad will be unblocked too.

However, Topku made a comment on Glutter that's pretty relevant. Topku says that people in foreign countries are making so huge a deal out of the blocking, that it's sending a clear message to the Chinese government about how important the blogging medium is. Topku says that the international attention is making thing worse, not better. The government can exert its power in the 21st century by taking away people's blogs.

Some areas in China cannot access blogspot. Don't ask me why, but you can consult the Chinese government instead.

Update II
More people from China (9 so far) have been accessing this site without using a work around. If you're from China and came to this site without doing anything special please leave a comment and let me know if you can access any blogspot site. Peking Duck briefly outlines the blocking/unblocking of blogspot. Another site claims that China's firewall has become more sophisticated and is only blocking certain sites.
However, some reports suggest that although most of the site is now accessible in China, some pages remain blocked. The pages still blocked are understood to carry content considered undesirable by the Chinese authorities. For instance explaining to surfers how to circumvent Internet filters and blocks.

I don't think I've outlined how to do that here, it just doesn't explain how some can access this site from China and some can't. I don't think anybody else can explain it now, so I'll continue to monitor the situation.