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Net Nanny Follies

Twitter blocked in China

Twitter v. China's GFW

Update (2009.06.08): Twitter is now accessible on the mainland.

And... there we have it.

Michael Anti was right after all:

Danwei: In terms of new media, do you still feel that in China censors could control everything that's happening in this area - you once said that if they shut off twitter, for example, it would be very easy, and information will just not get out.
Michael Anti: Twitter is a new thing in China. The censors need time to figure out what it is. So enjoy the last happy days of twittering before the fate of Youtube descends on it one day. [Emphasis added]

By the way, I want to point out that the Chinese Twitterland is funnier than the English one, for a Chinese tweet can have three times the volume of an English tweet, thanks to the high information intensity of the Chinese language. 140 Chinese characters can make up all the full elements of a news piece with the "5 Ws" (Who, What, Where, When and HoW). But the joy of the Chinese Twitterland is more fragile, and I hope that it will live longer in this country.

The block seems to be a URL keyword filter. Googling for "twitter.com" resets the connection, as does including the string "twitter.com" in any other URL. Access to the service is fine through proxy or VPN.

Update: It seems that photo sharing website Flickr.com has been blocked.

Update 2: Bing.com (the new Microsoft search engine) is gone too, probably for autoplaying Youtube videos when you put your mouse over them.

Update 3: Live.com and Hotmail.com have gone under. But MSN messenger seems fine.

Blogspot and Youtube remain blocked.

Update 03.06.09: Hotmail.com is back, but Live.com is still be having problems loading.

For the latest updates on the state of Twitter and other net destinations, please go to Danwei's Net Nanny Follies category

Links and Sources
There are currently 84 Comments for Twitter blocked in China.

Comments on Twitter blocked in China

Flickr and Twitter all down.

Was wondering why couldn't access my hotmail. Was fine 2 hours ago (4pm) but not now (6pm).

For those with a Hotmail.com or Live.com account..

You can set a Gmail account to collect your email from hotmail.com/live.com.. very efficient..

Gmail not blocked yet..

Just to confirm that flickr is blocked (Guangdong). Appears to be a keyword-based block. Searching for flickr.com in Google resets my internet connection.

wtf hotmail is down too! wtf is this crap??? why did they block hotmail?????? might as well shut down the whole freaking internet!!

Hotmail being blocked is quite something, this will affect a lot of people who might not complain about Youtube or Twitter, but for whom email is essential.

shit happens

Watching CCTV news I counted 5 several second long mutes over the course of around 15 minutes. While common for international channels broadcast over cable with a slight delay, this is highly unusual for a mainland channel, especially CCTV news.

Anyone know a reliable proxy site? I haven't needed to use one in a while and all my old standbys seem to be blocked as well.

use this: http://www.netevader.com/

Unless it mungs the proxied domain name, a web proxy isn't going to do you any good - this seems to be a URL-level filter that looks for the strings "twitter.com", "login.live.com" and "flickr.com", so it'll get them in proxy strings, too.

You'll need a software proxy, a VPN, or something like Peteryang's suggestion, which converts the requested URL into an encoded string.

I guess the nanny wont rest until we all switch to baidu, youku and 163.com

Use Tor with Firefox if you can get it. Slow, but still works.

Looks like China is really excited about celebrating the upcoming anniversary!

Can't be more crazy. Sure I can live with youtube blocked, but blocking my email?? Any ideas of this will be undone after 2 days? Thx for the gmail workaround. Works for now!

Good luck and have faith my fellow hotmailers

Thanks for the info. I downloaded Tor a while back, I've just never put it to use. My students are doing a project using both Flickr and Twitter (and some as yet unblocked sites) for their final grade. This really screws up my plan.

Interestingly however BBC online is not blocked and videos of upcoming anniversary are easily watchable, despite the fact BBC TV is selectively blocked whenever the story on the anniversary comes on.

I love this game!

Newest: as of 21:00, here in Guangdong I can not even access Google now... - but gmail (via POP3/SMTP) still works.

Keep in mind that there are still two days to go, and there will be fall-off after the fourth, so it isn't that simply, I think things won't be fully back until probably mid-June.

T-2 days til they turn the internet off...my fax machine is ready.

there are still four months to go

The blocks are already being reported in the mainstream media.


@Koos... beware, they will cut the telephone lines. I am training now with pigeons, back to the old days; I will start "spidgeoning" soon.

You tried to access the address http://www.gmail.com/, which is currently unavailable.
I am in Shanghai

And we've been having only sporadic access to most Google services here in Nanjing. Gmail has always been available, but Google Search, Google Calendar, Google Reader, and a couple others have been hit or miss (mostly miss)...

I lost even Internet Explorer. And can only get to the MSN home page, but nothing will open after that. What a pain. What IS the reason behind this for sure?


As of right now this is working here in Shanghai...probably wont last long though

This issue begs the question of whether being addicted to cheap Chinese goods is helping to prop up a totalitarian regime, or helping to bring them down by pulling the Chinese masses into the capitalist system. Which will win out?
Steve C.

back in my day the genuine bush telegraph worked well. If all else fails we can always resort to using kuaidis, like they do on taobao

Whenever I read things like this I am absolutely shocked and depressed at human beings' ability to accept handcuffs and shackles by authorities. Aren't you absolutely ashamed in China?? Your government is controlling your mind, your thoughts, you very access to information! What a sad state of affairs for a country that once *led the world in thought.

gmail.com is still OK from Suzhou (using CNC).

For flickr I go through wuxihold.com, an CGI proxy that scrambles the URL, so it bypasses that filter. I can't upload photos that way though

seems facebook still working in Guangdong. bing.com won't work but cn.bing.com should be ok.

Ok, I just bought up a whole aisle of tomatoe soup cans and a ball of string. I'm going into business on Ebay.

Gmail is working fine in Shanghai here. Remember that if you get your connection reset 'testing' blocked sites, close the browser and reopen to reset...

Time to have a proper revolution in China?

Also time for Tor - We in the west will also need this soon......

turned off? email? flikr? hotmail? why?... what a silly thing for a government to do. Is communism and the chinese gov. so incredibly fearful of reality and knowledge? Such a shame people allow themselves to be lied to and manipulated so by the media. But for a government to do so to it's own people is unforgivable. No human rights exist in China. Shame on them.

so mature

Here's a way for people in China to see that the rest of the world is paying attention. It's a flash-based screen that picks up tweets & flickr images using 'tiananmen' and 'june 4' as keywords.


Allows people to see what's being said as well.

I will say this once only:


Still up as of 2am Wednesday morning.

Welcome to the future. Once our communist overlords have foreclosed on our massive debt we can ALL look forward blocked twitters, youtubes, facebooks, etc.

Fortunately, they will all be replaced with ChinaIsGreatTwitter, ILoveChinaTube, TheFaceOfChinaIsWatchingYouBook. So, no problems.

I despise twitter anyway.

I say we just permanenetly block anyhting $ everything out of China. It will be their problem...WHO CARES!!! It will be their loss eventually. They have their own versions of everything American, so it's not like we will really lose anything.

I developed a search engine in 2001-2004. I hated when it indexed anything from China, all I got back was crap. I eventually placed every china based site in my exclusion list. Everything kept crashing, both software and servers...basically thinking that all data was corrupt.

I will be releasing it soon...it's very different and will take over google.

The filter is automatic: the more you discuss a key term, the more that source (twitter.com, facebook, hotmail) is blocked. The whole site, on a FIFO, so as other sites get blocked, the filters kick out the older IPs/hostnames. We just tend to discuss certain things at certain times of the year.

Whole hostnames and IPs -- 2 years ago, all virtualhosts at the same IP would get nailed by the "notice" one of the sites earns.

If you want to defeat the firewall, treat it like a Captcha: make up a new term. Rather than Tiananmen, say "HevGa" (Heaven's Gate) because the filters don't know that word yet. Not full words though. ... or use non-english characters that look like numbers instead of 6-4, because we can read them, but the filter sees bits and bytes.

Actually, by mentioning two key terms, I might have put this site on the "bad list" for an amount of time after anyone views this site and sees those terms. Mod, please obfuscate or intentionally misspell the placenames from the last comment I made.

Perhaps censorship of the net is not the end game... Maybe it's this.

Well I guess if you chinese would arm yourselfs and fight back, this kind of crap wouldnot happen to you BE A FREE CITIZEN, OWN A GUN! Greeting from the U S A

shows that the us should have noting to do with nazis

Bend over?

i wouldnt want to live in that country....feel sorry for the citizens....

you commies brought this on yourselves by supporting and making excuses for this totalitarian regime.good luck being stuck in the 1970's

You guys in China are suffering!!!! Oh my!!!

Why are they doing this!!!??? With so much new technology, why revert to taking away what we have produced so far.....?

I feel sorry for my fellow Cousins and Aunt.
They moved to China over a year ago, and they're TWITTER freaks.
Sad, really..

Ah well. Thank god(hopefully, I mean) this won't happen to the US....
Too many people will be on a rampage before you know it.

This crazy!
I can't access my hotmail or google now!
We can't let them get away with this. The Chinese government is loosing power and they know it.
CCTV is a joke!

If you are in China, to unblock Hotmail, youtube, etc, download the following exe and click on it. After a minute a new Internet Explorer window will open up and you can type in your internet address that you want to go to.
Download link for exe:

Wow, and I thought we had it bad in America with King Obama.

What censorship in China?

I think it's kind of ironic that the Chinese have Shanghai'd the internet. It's also pretty ridiculous. What's the point. Savvy people in the private sector will always be smarter than government goons anyway.

Be grateful you're not a Tibetan monk.

lol..i live in Nigeria and everything is fine...why did they block these sites?....is yo festival bad or something?

f*ck the chinese governement. Maybe one day soon the N. Koreans will accidently drop one of their test bombs in China then we will not have to worry about them anymore.

As long as you're spying on us, can we get some fresh towels in our room? Our hotel room has fresh clean government-certified air; the Swine Flu is the least of our concerns. Please let us travel freely to Macao; Mr. Sheldon Adelson has a very fine casino. I hear that the $5 Star Trek machine, made by WMS Gaming, has a handsome payoff percentage and many interactive bonus features! Let my people gambol or we will be forced to smuggle more Panthera tigris peni!

I just don't understand why the people do not stand up for themselves and fight the government and demand change.

here in Liuyang also blocked hotmail.. but with rapidshare it works.

Hotmail seems fine in Nanjing, hopefully twitter gets unblocked soon, or I won't have anyone to tell about my boring day while I'm on the john.

Welcome to the slashdot crowd! Glad to see you've brought your usual inanity to the party.

Slashdot, helping to keep the signal to noise dial pinned firmly to the right.

here in shanghai we cannot get flickr ,twitter, hotmail (people still use that?) and youtube.
i have already gotten used to google services periodically getting blocked , i think i will get a VPN for my birthday,
for those outside the firewall , if you want to help and have extra bandwidth join t-or (misspelled intentionally) . The more people on to-r , the faster the service is for us. Thanks

I just don't understand why the people do not stand up for themselves and fight the government and demand change.
@anonymous, do you think Americans would care or even know if the US government blocked access to Tianya, 163, QQ and Xiaonei? What are those websites you ask? Great, now you know how the majority of Chinese people feel about blocking of hotmail, twitter and most other foreign sites. Block something that people care about and there will be an outcry. In the meantime the people don't stand up for themselves and fight the government because most people are not oppressed and are generally supportive of the government and its actions. Modern China is not the China of 30 years ago (or even 10 years ago).

I was wrong, Gmail is still ok.
but I did encounter connection problems yesterday night.
For those who want to see twitter and youtube etc, link is a good and fast proxy server.

When are media organizations like Danwei going to stand up to this kind of bullying from the government? I for one am leaving China next month; I can no longer justify supporting such flagrant abuses of power, it is sickening. "Beijing Huanying Ni"? Only if you bow before them and do as you are told like good little sheeple.

What does Twitter, Flickr, Blogs, Hotmail, and Bing have to do with censorship?! I really felt sad for Chinese people who can't access their accounts and communicate with friends abroad.
So what's next? Google and Yahoo? Or the internet itself will be down?

If you want to use Twitter and you have a google account, just get TwitterGadget for your iGoogle page. It still works, for now.

Mmm hotmail is back by normal procedures at 13:00 in beijing

whoa, who let the stupid crowd in...

My hotmail works again too. Beijing aswell.

Can access Hotmail from the office in Guangzhou, 14:01. It wasn't last night, though.

This isn't just unconscionable, it's now near impossible to function on the web this way. The cheap prices just ain't worth it.

what are the possibilities that twitter marketing will work? i truly think that we need to have real value to give to our loyal follower . getting the right content to get the right customer? it also let your ideas or anyone's ideas spreading all across the minds all over the world. then it is time when twitter money is a 'way to go'!

i'm using w1topia both ways (ssl & pptp) + their dns and yet still cannot access tw1tter? i've looked over their wiki but couldn't find an answer. is there a trick of which i'm not aware? thanks.

For those using Witopia:

Witopia's DNS won't work for twitter & flickr.

Trying switching to OpenDNS.

works for me.

Wow, that sounds like something ridiculous that the people of China have to deal with. I mean, Twitter may not be a necessity, but what's the reason of blocking it? Government control of media and censorship sucks, lol.

Beijing is blocking Twitter so that foreigners in China can't use it to report on anything they might witness today.

it's a clash of the Titans -- China versus Twitter and Microsoft

Are SN sites Twitter, Facebook, YouTube ... etc are still banned in China?

People in China can try using Mblinx

Hope it helps!

Twitter is open again in China.

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