China blocks search engines…(or not, according to Blognation)

UPDATE: BlogNation ‘s David Feng, who lives in Beijing, says this story is false and that search engines are NOT being blocked. I just talked with Sam Sethi in London and he says to watch this story for more info.

Wow, China blocks all search engines.

NASDAQ should delist Baidu immediately in retaliation, if this is true. The USA should pull out of the Olympics next year. China is counting on that to make a ton of great PR and make China look like a world leader (which it is, but things like this set it way back in my mind). We shouldn’t enable the American media to be used with the Olympics if this turns out to be true.

I’m going to the Web 2.0 Summit today. I imagine this will be the topic of conversation. If it’s not, it immediately should be on stage and out in the hallways.

Thank you to Duncan Riley of TechCrunch for staying on top of this story.

This is a reminder that China is a communist country where the people aren’t really allowed to own things and where businesses don’t really need to play fair.

It’s ironic because many of Google/Yahoo/Microsoft’s best employees are Chinese (all three have big operations in China and Google hired away one of the most famous Chinese employees from Microsoft, Dr. Kai-Fu Lee. So famous that I hear football stadiums get filled when he speaks). These companies are so dependent on these workers that they aren’t willing to pull out and punish the Chinese for actions like these.

Translation: the Chinese get to have their cake (our money coming over for everything from toys to paying their top software researchers) as well as eat it too (keep our brands and technology out of the country). I wonder what Rebecca MacKinnon will say about this. She’s a journalist that’s covered China for a very long time.

Also will be interesting to see what Global Voices Online will say about this. They track Internet censorship and business disruptions around the world.

It’s important to note that some people, in TechCrunch’s comments, are saying that this isn’t going on across the board.

What do you think? If you’re in China, what are you seeing?

By the way, I’ve really got to compliment TechMeme. Some times it looks pretty lame, but over the past three days I’ve dug through more than 10,500 posts according to Google Reader and it’s really hard to find legitimate news that belongs on TechMeme that isn’t already there. Gabe Rivera has built something that does have real value, even if once in a while something stupid gets up there too.

96 thoughts on “China blocks search engines…(or not, according to Blognation)

  1. Oh yeah, so you wanna do something about it?

    Start with this – quit buying “kids meals” at ALL of the fast-food places.

    100% of the kids toys I have seen is made in China – do I really care that it isn’t made in the USA?

    Nope, I don’t care – but THEY might if sales drop more than 70%.

  2. Oh yeah, so you wanna do something about it?

    Start with this – quit buying “kids meals” at ALL of the fast-food places.

    100% of the kids toys I have seen is made in China – do I really care that it isn’t made in the USA?

    Nope, I don’t care – but THEY might if sales drop more than 70%.

  3. I personally don’t care what China blocks – I don’t live there, and I don’t work there or have any business there.

    What the hell else does one expect from a Communist country?

    Whenever I see the headlines start with “China blocks….” I think, whoa, slow news day.

  4. I personally don’t care what China blocks – I don’t live there, and I don’t work there or have any business there.

    What the hell else does one expect from a Communist country?

    Whenever I see the headlines start with “China blocks….” I think, whoa, slow news day.

  5. It’s seems to be great sport to attack China’s decisions about Internet access in China, but if you ask average people in China, they have more important concerns than whether or not they can Google for something. Some of the things I’ve observed people in China both want and could benefit from are all health related – cleaner air, potable water, private bathrooms in their residences, an OSHA-like standards body to set worker safety standards.

    As I pointed out after attending DEMO China in 2006, television censorship in China is much more blatant. And local people are generally indifferent or know ways to get around blocked sites.

  6. It’s seems to be great sport to attack China’s decisions about Internet access in China, but if you ask average people in China, they have more important concerns than whether or not they can Google for something. Some of the things I’ve observed people in China both want and could benefit from are all health related – cleaner air, potable water, private bathrooms in their residences, an OSHA-like standards body to set worker safety standards.

    As I pointed out after attending DEMO China in 2006, television censorship in China is much more blatant. And local people are generally indifferent or know ways to get around blocked sites.

  7. I’ve blocked Scoble from my PC. Also removed it from My favorites,…wait it’s never been there:-)

  8. I’ve blocked Scoble from my PC. Also removed it from My favorites,…wait it’s never been there:-)

  9. I’m with Seth E on this one.

    However, if you are going to boycott the Chinese Olympics, it should not only be over the Internet, but over the suppress of Tibet and the Uighurs; over the propping up of the murderous Sudanese regime’s actions in Darfur and other regions; over Chinese obstruction of UN resolutions on Burma — over many other things.

    I personally would advocate not boycotting, but showing up and demonstrating, quietly or noisily, but attempting to be visible there while the spotlight is on China. Companies should not do business with China, however, as long as they pursue these policies. We should back the people in China who make efforts to reverse these oppressive practices.

    The boycott of the Soviet Olympics in 1979 over the invasion of Afghanistan and the jailing of dissidents didn’t have much effect on the regime but it did deprive it of legitimacy. I’m not certain that not boycotting and showing up and demonstrating would have been the better option.

  10. I’m with Seth E on this one.

    However, if you are going to boycott the Chinese Olympics, it should not only be over the Internet, but over the suppress of Tibet and the Uighurs; over the propping up of the murderous Sudanese regime’s actions in Darfur and other regions; over Chinese obstruction of UN resolutions on Burma — over many other things.

    I personally would advocate not boycotting, but showing up and demonstrating, quietly or noisily, but attempting to be visible there while the spotlight is on China. Companies should not do business with China, however, as long as they pursue these policies. We should back the people in China who make efforts to reverse these oppressive practices.

    The boycott of the Soviet Olympics in 1979 over the invasion of Afghanistan and the jailing of dissidents didn’t have much effect on the regime but it did deprive it of legitimacy. I’m not certain that not boycotting and showing up and demonstrating would have been the better option.

  11. @40 you keep referencing the same articles wherein google says they’ve “received reports”. With no attribution. I have no doubt you’ve received mails supporting your conspiricu. But you also must acknowledge you’ve received comments to the contrary. Unti

  12. @40 you keep referencing the same articles wherein google says they’ve “received reports”. With no attribution. I have no doubt you’ve received mails supporting your conspiricu. But you also must acknowledge you’ve received comments to the contrary. Unti

  13. @35 That may be all well and good. It may be true some sites are getting redirected in some areas. But even as you state, some are not. So, we don’t have definitive CONFIRMATION from Google that the Chinese Govt is deliberately redirecting searches to Baidu. What we have now is samplings of both happening. One could use the same logic to prove the existence of UFO’s. Plenty of people say they’ve seen UFO’s. Afterall, numbers don’t lie (usually)

  14. @35 That may be all well and good. It may be true some sites are getting redirected in some areas. But even as you state, some are not. So, we don’t have definitive CONFIRMATION from Google that the Chinese Govt is deliberately redirecting searches to Baidu. What we have now is samplings of both happening. One could use the same logic to prove the existence of UFO’s. Plenty of people say they’ve seen UFO’s. Afterall, numbers don’t lie (usually)

  15. The story is not true. I have no problem here in Shanghai and none of the China-based bloggers is reporting problems. What is blocked is youtube and people are very upset about that.

  16. The story is not true. I have no problem here in Shanghai and none of the China-based bloggers is reporting problems. What is blocked is youtube and people are very upset about that.

  17. I’m in Beijing and have been happily googling (and I use it a lot!) and haven’t once been redirected to Baidu (or anywhere else).

    However, for the past day or so, Youtube has been blocked. Due to the bandwith, it’s not an easy thing to proxy around either. Tor might just do it, but it’s going to be very slow.

  18. I’m in Beijing and have been happily googling (and I use it a lot!) and haven’t once been redirected to Baidu (or anywhere else).

    However, for the past day or so, Youtube has been blocked. Due to the bandwith, it’s not an easy thing to proxy around either. Tor might just do it, but it’s going to be very slow.

  19. Robert, for a leader of the blogging community, it is disappointing that you have a childish, one-dimensional response,
    “NASDAQ should delist Baidu immediately in retaliation, if this is true. The USA should pull out of the Olympics next year. China is counting on that to make a ton of great PR and make China look like a world leader (which it is, but things like this set it way back in my mind). We shouldn’t enable the American media to be used with the Olympics if this turns out to be true.”

    1) “”NASDAQ should delist Baidu immediately in retaliation”. And exactly for what crime? NASDAQ has not de-listed Baidu for the more obvious crimes of blatant massive copyright infringement with it’s direct mp3 access machinations, and with American interests including Goldman Sachs involved, the duplicities are apparent.

    2) “The USA should pull out of the Olympics next year….. We shouldn’t enable the American media to be used with the Olympics if this turns out to be true”
    Every wrong (or perceived wrong) by China has an obvious response with no sense of perspective whatsoever– boycott the Olympics. What a spoilt brat kind of response is that? The Olympics has simply turned out to be a stick to hit China with to make other nations force China to carry out their whims.

    3) “China is counting on that to make a ton of great PR and make China look like a world leader (which it is, but things like this set it way back in my mind).”
    We all know that George Bush undertook a great PR and political stunt this week by giving China an obvious slap in the face. Why is it that I’m not expecting to see other world religion leaders feted equally and queing up to receive their Congressional Medals of honor. An obviously politically motivated act will be met with an equally political response, and I’m going to sit out that one, but we all know that politics can get ugly.

    I work in China, and have been greatly inconvenienced by the numerous internet access problems not all of which I agree to, but please do have a sense of perspective and listen to more voices than that of Rebecca McKinnon and Global Voices Online who with all due respect, have their accompanying viewpoints as their functions and roles dictate. Comments like the following are just broad brushstrokes that do not befit the status of a respected Scoble blog. “This is a reminder that China is a communist country where the people aren’t really allowed to own things and where businesses don’t really need to play fair.”

  20. Robert, for a leader of the blogging community, it is disappointing that you have a childish, one-dimensional response,
    “NASDAQ should delist Baidu immediately in retaliation, if this is true. The USA should pull out of the Olympics next year. China is counting on that to make a ton of great PR and make China look like a world leader (which it is, but things like this set it way back in my mind). We shouldn’t enable the American media to be used with the Olympics if this turns out to be true.”

    1) “”NASDAQ should delist Baidu immediately in retaliation”. And exactly for what crime? NASDAQ has not de-listed Baidu for the more obvious crimes of blatant massive copyright infringement with it’s direct mp3 access machinations, and with American interests including Goldman Sachs involved, the duplicities are apparent.

    2) “The USA should pull out of the Olympics next year….. We shouldn’t enable the American media to be used with the Olympics if this turns out to be true”
    Every wrong (or perceived wrong) by China has an obvious response with no sense of perspective whatsoever– boycott the Olympics. What a spoilt brat kind of response is that? The Olympics has simply turned out to be a stick to hit China with to make other nations force China to carry out their whims.

    3) “China is counting on that to make a ton of great PR and make China look like a world leader (which it is, but things like this set it way back in my mind).”
    We all know that George Bush undertook a great PR and political stunt this week by giving China an obvious slap in the face. Why is it that I’m not expecting to see other world religion leaders feted equally and queing up to receive their Congressional Medals of honor. An obviously politically motivated act will be met with an equally political response, and I’m going to sit out that one, but we all know that politics can get ugly.

    I work in China, and have been greatly inconvenienced by the numerous internet access problems not all of which I agree to, but please do have a sense of perspective and listen to more voices than that of Rebecca McKinnon and Global Voices Online who with all due respect, have their accompanying viewpoints as their functions and roles dictate. Comments like the following are just broad brushstrokes that do not befit the status of a respected Scoble blog. “This is a reminder that China is a communist country where the people aren’t really allowed to own things and where businesses don’t really need to play fair.”

  21. Ron
    we had numerous emails and comments prior to the main story being published (ie my second one) that confirmed the validity, complete with screen shots. As I noted in comment 31, censorship is rarely uniform in China as a lot of it is done at ISP level so you’ll often get stories of sites being blocked in Shanghai but not Beijing…well not immediately anyway. Balance of probabilities is that the story is correct based on the evidence at hand. So Sam Sethi has someone in Beijing who can still get on…we’ve got a list of commenters on TC and reports from other sites that people cant. Numbers don’t lie (usually :-) )

  22. Ron
    we had numerous emails and comments prior to the main story being published (ie my second one) that confirmed the validity, complete with screen shots. As I noted in comment 31, censorship is rarely uniform in China as a lot of it is done at ISP level so you’ll often get stories of sites being blocked in Shanghai but not Beijing…well not immediately anyway. Balance of probabilities is that the story is correct based on the evidence at hand. So Sam Sethi has someone in Beijing who can still get on…we’ve got a list of commenters on TC and reports from other sites that people cant. Numbers don’t lie (usually :-) )

  23. @33 again this is why bloggers should not pass themselves off as reporters. The register is somply referring to the same google link sullivan links to. Which says they’ve had “nubetoisreports”. That’s NOT confirmation. We also have numberous reports that the story is bs. Mo one has confirmed anything

  24. @33 again this is why bloggers should not pass themselves off as reporters. The register is somply referring to the same google link sullivan links to. Which says they’ve had “nubetoisreports”. That’s NOT confirmation. We also have numberous reports that the story is bs. Mo one has confirmed anything

  25. Robert
    It wasn’t just a couple of reports backing this (I chose to link out in the second post) but also various emails and comments on the first post as well.

    BlogNation can debunk the story all they want but as I understand it the Great Firewall of China isn’t in some single room blocking all traffic in China, censorship is often (or mostly) implemented at an ISP level. We regularly see stories about sites being block in particular cities in China only. If access isn’t blocked in Beijing on a certain ISP this doesn’t debunk the otherall premise: that the Chinese Government has ordered this action, it just means the message or action hasn’t filtered down and implemented everywhere yet. There are too many reports from too many people to indicate that there is truth in this story.

  26. Robert
    It wasn’t just a couple of reports backing this (I chose to link out in the second post) but also various emails and comments on the first post as well.

    BlogNation can debunk the story all they want but as I understand it the Great Firewall of China isn’t in some single room blocking all traffic in China, censorship is often (or mostly) implemented at an ISP level. We regularly see stories about sites being block in particular cities in China only. If access isn’t blocked in Beijing on a certain ISP this doesn’t debunk the otherall premise: that the Chinese Government has ordered this action, it just means the message or action hasn’t filtered down and implemented everywhere yet. There are too many reports from too many people to indicate that there is truth in this story.

  27. Maybe you’re right and perhaps I’m off topic, but worsening state censorship, if this is indeed what has happened, isn’t this of a piece with the Chinese authorities generally reckless disregard for human rights?

  28. Maybe you’re right and perhaps I’m off topic, but worsening state censorship, if this is indeed what has happened, isn’t this of a piece with the Chinese authorities generally reckless disregard for human rights?

  29. @20 I thought the suggestion was to boycott the olympics because of the Baidu issue. What does AI have to do with that?

  30. @20 I thought the suggestion was to boycott the olympics because of the Baidu issue. What does AI have to do with that?

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