China’s approach to filter & censor huge chunks of internet traffic within China – the so-called Great Firewall of China – has been troublesome to Chinese dissidents and human rights advocates alike for quite a while. To at least make the issues somewhat more transparent for those outside China, a non-profit group of webbies and media people has set up a website a while ago, where you can check if a certain URL is filtered by China’s Great Firewall.
According to the website (www.greatfirewallofchina.org),
this blog isn’t blocked in China. So far, so good.* (Although I don’t think many there are many Chinese readers here anyway: According to Google Analytics, it’s just about 0.25%. If you’re one of them, drop me a line, I’d be thrilled to have a chat!) I was all the more surprised when I checked out other websites and noted that the little online shirt shop I’ve been setting up with two friends (www.keingeschenk.de) is indeed blocked.
(I have to admit I’m almost a bit proud that some random Chinese routers think our shirts are important enough to filter. Or maybe it’s just our complete lack of Chinese motives so far? :)
Jokes aside, this filtering is some serious crap. Also, if you live in a country where it’s risky for you to surf to the sites you want to see, consider using an anonymizer such as the (pretty awesome) XeroBank browser (used to be called Torpark browser) which you can run from a memory stick.)
You can see which websites are blocked in China on www.greatfirewallofchina.org/test/.
* Update: As of 10 July 2007, thewavingcat.com appears to also be blocked in China. Hm.
Update: Matthias points out that the test isn’t reliable, it’s an indicator of a URL block at best: If the ping times between the test server and the tested URL get too long, the website appears to be blocked even if it isn’t. Thanks, Matthias!