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China's Firewall Stymies Google; Users Confused

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the death-by-a-thousand-disruptions dept.

Google 34

eldavojohn writes "Massive confusion occurred last night for Google's Chinese search engine and ad services when Google's automated reporting system claimed that everything was blocked in China. The problem was that most users experienced no outage despite Google's reports and Google has backpedaled on those reports. Google explained that their tool for detecting blockage is not 'real-time': 'Because of the way we measure accessibility in China, it's possible that our machines could overestimate the level of blockage. That seems to be what happened last night when there was a relatively small blockage. It appears now that users in China are accessing our properties normally.' The WSJ blogger notes, 'Beijing may not need to cancel Google's license. Death by a thousand disruptions could be just as effective.'"

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This is bad for China. (1, Offtopic)

yog (19073) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084918)

They are trying to modernize their country and become the premier superpower of the 21st century, and yet they are practicing a 1930s-style fascistic repression of free speech which undermines their scientific and economic development.

Only through free exchange of ideas can a society advance and adapt to changing technology and economic conditions. As long as the PRC government maintains even a partial hold on freedom of speech, suppressing those who call out government corruption and inefficiencies, the people will be unable to experience a sense of advancement of their condition. They'll feel stuck.

Even worse, the jingoistic nationalism which pervades any discussion of international events--the official media's constant portrayal of the Western powers led by the USA as the evil imperialists of the 19th Century, for example, the demonization of anyone who questions the official version of events, the bused-in protest marchers such as the ones who trashed the US Embassy after the Belgrade bombing--these all make China look less stable and give foreign politicians more fodder to oppose China.

Ultimately, any politician in the U.S. who runs on a pro-China platform is going to take a hit in the polls. China today is viewed as a scary, slightly evil place that exports toys with lead, poisonous milk, heparin, and toothpaste, and carcinogenic drywall. It's also viewed as an exploitative sweatshop where the workers are screwed even by the most progressive companies such as Apple. The Tiananmen Massacre (or "incident" as the PRC prefers to call it) is still fresh in the minds of some Americans, though many others have forgotten it in their zeal to buy the cheapest products on the shelf at Walmart.

Google is viewed in the U.S. as a good company that has taken a principled stand on the China censorship issue. Pretty much anything China does today to limit Google's freedom of action is going to be viewed in a negative light by the American public.

There's also the scholarly communication issue. Academics and scientists in China have reported that they rely largely on Google, and they would have trouble doing their work without it. How can China advance technically if they limit the communication and research resources of their top scholars and scientists? It's a fundamental dilemma that the Chinese will need to solve one way or the other. Freedom versus stability. Information wants to be free, and ultimately the Chinese will have to allow more freedom. Whether Google is there is a political decision that has economic implications. The U.S. should be paying close attention to this issue, given our huge trade deficit with China and their almost free ride to prosperity that they have been given on the backs of millions of laid off American manufacturing employees.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085056)

Nice way to not even read the summary. It was more a hiccup in Google's block detection than China Blocking them. Interesting my ass.

Re:This is bad for China. (3, Informative)

yog (19073) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085220)

You clearly didn't read the links in the summary, which in itself provides little information. There's confusion and inconsistency in Google's .cn sites. Some users, especially in Beijing, have reported outages, and others have not. The bottom line is that some unknown factors or persons are causing performance and uptime problems with Google properties within the China firewall. You can choose to define it as a "hiccup" but that's a bit of a leap at this point. If you have information to share, I'd like to see it.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085342)

While I didn't read the first two, I did read the last one, you know, the main topic for this article which said "That seems to be what happened last night when there was a relatively small blockage. It appears now that users in China are accessing our properties normally." A small outage that lasts one evening is definitely what I'd call a hiccup. Yes, China has a horrible history of censorship, but they've been steadily improving by a considerable margin. The fact that they're playing ball with Google at all shows that.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

Mr Otobor (1097177) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085528)

Steadily improving, yes; but as they started, roughly, in "Vlad the Impaler" territory, I think the admonition to "back off a bit" and "let them sort out their problems" are a both a bit premature and a bit naive. China actively censors content, makes use of heavy and constant propaganda, and jails, tortures, executes and 'disappears' people; saying, "Well, they do it less often now" or "Now the show trials last 2 days sometimes!" is hardly a defense.

Re:This is bad for China. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33086044)

China actively censors content, makes use of heavy and constant propaganda, and jails, tortures, executes and 'disappears' people;

It's a good thing that doesn't happen in the US /s

The fact is, China is freer than the UK, about as free as Canada on the civil liberties front - but not as free an economy, and only slightly less free than the US on the civil liberties front - but has a freer economy.

Don't think so? Stand on a street corner in Toronto and proclaim, "I disagree with Islam. Let me quote the koran to make my point." I dare you. You'll be Rodney Kinged so fast you head will spin. Do the same thing in Beijing. Do you know what will happen to you? Nothing.

I know people who have done the former, and I have done the latter.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33087562)

The fact is, China is freer than the UK, about as free as Canada on the civil liberties front

Oh, so I suppose that in the UK there are so many black jails (that is, secret jails where provincial and national governments can "disappear" people to) that it's literally a cottage industry [npr.org] ? Or that entire provinces of Canada are barred from journalists, so the international community can't see the human rights abuses? I guess you think that in the US you are required to have registration papers before you can migrate from the poor inland villages into the city? Maybe you think Australia executes nearly 2,000 people a year [npr.org] ?

And I can gaurantee that you did not, "proclaim, 'I disagree with Islam. Let me quote the koran to make my point,'" anywhere in China, or you'd be posting from the inside of a windowless cell. If you had tried it in Tibet, you'd be dead, because the Chinese government has posted snipers throughout the region to ensure that nobody questions Chinese rule there.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 4 years ago | (#33088396)

It's against law to do anything about religion at non-religious places, like street, in China.

Re:This is bad for China. (2, Insightful)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085956)

You clearly didn't read the links in the summary, which in itself provides little information. There's confusion and inconsistency in Google's .cn sites. Some users, especially in Beijing, have reported outages, and others have not. The bottom line is that some unknown factors or persons are causing performance and uptime problems with Google properties within the China firewall. You can choose to define it as a "hiccup" but that's a bit of a leap at this point. If you have information to share, I'd like to see it.

Since when is RTFA or even RTFS a prerequisite to bashing China?

China sells the US childs toys laced with or made entirely from poison. China sells the US fake Advil/Tylenol made from drywall. China is where fucking EVIL GREEDY CEOs buy slaves so they can fire US workers, because, well slaves are cheaper, DUH.

Fuck China, along with every single person that buys Apple products or cheap shit from Wal-Mart. You fuckers own human slaves. That is not flamebait, that is not trolling, that is the truth.

Re:This is bad for China. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33086646)

I know it's Friday and you might be a bit tense from this week's stresses, but take a chill-pill, man.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 4 years ago | (#33088644)

Based on a book called "China Inc. [amazon.com] ", Chinese labor today is even cheaper than slaves of US more than 100 years ago. It's a fact, face it or lose it.

And is the computer you are posting from made in US?

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#33137118)

Based on a book called "China Inc. [amazon.com] ", Chinese labor today is even cheaper than slaves of US more than 100 years ago. It's a fact, face it or lose it.

And is the computer you are posting from made in US?

Just because the components were not made in the US does not by default mean they were made by slaves. In fact, I wholeheartedly admit that I do not know enough about the source of parts in the workstation I built.

That said, I am quite sure that they were not made at Foxconn in China, and I would take an educated guess and say that most of the parts were made in Taiwan or Malaysia by fairly compensated workers.

It's saddens me to learn that even with their 30% "pay" raise, that Foxconn slaves are still worth less than former US slaves.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086364)

>>>unknown factors or persons are causing performance and uptime problems with Google properties within the China firewall. You can choose to define it as a "hiccup" but that's a bit of a leap

(ahem) Some unknown factor or persons are causing performance and uptime issues with my Verizon internet and phone service. Why we were without service for 2 whole days! I suspect the chinese..... er, I mean the american government. Or maybe it's that dude Hister that Nostradamus talked about.

Look at that!!! Hey I can sound just as paranoid as you!!!

No seriously: It IS just a hiccup. Not a consprira-nut. Just a programming error. Like Apple's iPhone bars.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

nobodie (1555367) | more than 4 years ago | (#33094206)

China here: we are subject to constant "hiccups" in gmail and google. This has been a fact of life and often it has to do with physical problems as well as deliberate blockage.

What I mean is that google goes down sometimes and that affects us here, the cables sometimes create disruptions and that causes problems here, the firewall is not exactly a foolproof thing (or ... well, each provider blocks things as well as the firewall, sometimes it is the ISP office that makes decisions. At work if one person googles something inappropriate we all lose google for 15 minutes while the connection gets reset) and sometimes blocks stupid stuff and then unblocks it for no apparent reason. All these things are constant. We hate it but have little choice but accepting it. Our Chinese co-workers are embarrassed but confused about why you would want to go to a site like that anyway.

Re:This is bad for China. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33086056)

It was more a hiccup in Google's block detection than China Blocking them

So what ? The sad thing is they actually need a block detection. If it fails I blame China for that too.

Re:This is bad for China. (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085270)

*Perks up*

What's this? China is mentioned on a slashdot article! Oh boy! I've been saving up a nice big rant-post since the last article, keeping it on my desktop so I can copy and paste the very second this moment comes up! People will be in awe and wonder about how much I have the world political perspective in such a clear and defined view. I shall be modded to infinite and beyond!

Oh... Wait... Not relevant? Damn.

Re:This is bad for China. (2, Funny)

yog (19073) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086204)

Who cares about mod points? I like to look at the big picture, and to me the main point of these continuing problems for Google in China is that China is shooting itself in the foot. What a pity that you can't or won't discuss the issues at hand and prefer to merely mock others who do. It's also a pity that some moderators actually found your rant funny while dismissing my ideas as off topic. Slashdot as a forum to discuss anything but the latest chips and copyright wars continues to fall flat.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33087104)

Oh, don't be sour. We're just jesting that the article was about a bug in Google's Code and you went off about China. I mean in an article about Apple's App Store, we don't make serious long posts about the iPhone 4's reception problems.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

yog (19073) | more than 4 years ago | (#33090612)

No, but "we" might make serious long posts about the iPhone's effect on Western civilization and its possible contribution to our civilization's collapse, or some such tangential yet important topic. What's wrong with expanding on a theme? After all, if it were such a crime, you would never have heard Beethoven or Mozart compose any variations.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085300)

Don't forget religious suppression. The US is a country founded, in large part, on freedom of religion. In China, religion is mostly suppressed. Sure, there are a few, small, state-approved religious organizations. However, the vast majority of what the US has, China won't allow. To some people, that's a bigger issue than freedom of information and speech.

Re:This is bad for China. (2, Insightful)

tokul (682258) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085660)

Even worse, the jingoistic nationalism which pervades any discussion of international events--the official media's constant portrayal of the Western powers led by the USA as the evil imperialists of the 19th Century,

Some American said "But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." Don't judge or condemn political structure used in other country. After all only democrats used a-bomb in anger and last American military campaigns toppled governments of two independent countries.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086300)

The American who said that, Thomas Jefferson, did so in response to why Virginia's Official State Religion should be abolished, and the VA Constitution amended to allow freedom of worship. He'd probably say exactly the same about China's Official State Religion(s), and why the Chinese people should not be persecuted if they worship in a manner the state does not approve.

Re:This is bad for China. (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086938)

He'd probably say

My point was that Americans (or any other democrats) should not criticize different government form. It only differs from the one that are used to.

Re:This is bad for China. (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086346)

Some American said "But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." Don't judge or condemn political structure used in other country.

Tyranny is tyranny, and deserves condemnation whether the tyrant is named George, Kim, or Wu. Your quote speaks to toleration of religious belief by another individual, not cultural relativism.

and last American military campaigns toppled governments of two independent countries.

That was, after all, one of their objectives.

Weekly (1)

slaxative (1867220) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085026)

It seems like every week we get an article about how something changed with the Chinese firewall and something broke. I would strongly consider moving if I had to deal with this as often as they do. Stop screwing the with firewall of the country!

Lifting the Lid on the Guilty Yid (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33085212)

The liberals got it exactly right. For years now they’ve been telling us how “vibrant” mass immigration has made stale, pale White societies. Well, London was certainly vibrating on 7th July and that got me thinking: What else have the liberals got right? Mass immigration “enriches” us too, they’ve always said. Is that “enrich” as in “enriched uranium”, an excellent way of making atom bombs? Because that’s what comes next: a weapon of real mass destruction that won’t kill people in piffling dozens but in hundreds of thousands or millions. Bye-bye London, bye-bye Washington, bye-bye Tel Aviv.

I’m not too sure I’d shed a tear if the last-named went up in a shower of radioactive cinders, but Tel Aviv is actually the least likely of the three to be hit. What’s good for you ain’t good for Jews, and though Jews have striven mightily, and mighty successfully, to turn White nations into multi-racial fever-swamps, mass immigration has passed the Muzzerland safely by. And mass immigration is the key to what happened in London. You don’t need a sophisticated socio-political analysis taking in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Jewish control of Anglo-American foreign policy, British colonialism, and fifteen centuries of Christian-Muslim conflict. You can explain the London bombs in five simple words:

Pakis do not belong here.

And you can sum up how to prevent further London bombs – and worse – in three simple words:

PAKI GO HOME.

At any time before the 1950s, brown-skinned Muslim terrorists would have found it nearly impossible to plan and commit atrocities on British soil, because they would have stood out like sore thumbs in Britain’s overwhelmingly White cities. Today, thanks to decades of mass immigration, it’s often Whites who stand out like sore thumbs. Our cities swarm with non-whites full of anti-White grievances and hatreds created by Judeo-liberal propaganda. And let’s forget the hot air about how potential terrorists and terrorist sympathizers are a “tiny minority” of Britain’s vibrant, peace-loving Muslim “community”.

Even if that’s true, a tiny minority of 1.6 million (2001 estimate) is a hell of a lot of people, and there’s very good reason to believe it isn’t true. Tony Blair has tried to buy off Britain’s corrupt and greedy “moderate” Muslims with knighthoods and public flattery, but his rhetoric about the “religion of peace” wore thin long ago. After the bombings he vowed, with his trademark bad actor’s pauses, that we will... not rest until... the guilty men are identified... and as far... as is humanly possible... brought to justice for this... this murderous carnage... of the innocent.

His slimy lawyer’s get-out clause – “as far as is humanly possible” – was soon needed. Unlike Blair and his pal Dubya in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bombers were prepared not only to kill the innocent but to die themselves as they did so. And to laugh at the prospect: they were captured on CCTV sharing a joke about the limbs and heads that would shortly be flying. Even someone as dim as Blair must know you’ve got a big problem on your hands when there are over 1.6 million people in your country following a religion like that.

If he doesn’t know, there are plenty of Jewish journalists who will point it out for him. There’s the neo-conservative Melanie Phillips in Britain, for example, who never met an indignant adverb she didn’t like, and the neo-conservative Mark Steyn in Canada, who never met an indignant Arab he didn’t kick. Reading their hard-hitting columns on Muslim psychosis, I was reminded of a famous scene in Charles Dickens’ notoriously anti-Semitic novel Oliver Twist (1839). The hero watches the training of the villainous old Jew Fagin put into action by the Artful Dodger:

What was Oliver’s horror and alarm to see the Dodger plunge his hand into the old gentleman’s pocket, and draw from thence a handkerchief! To see him hand the same to Charley Bates; and finally to behold them both running away round the corner at full speed! He stood for a moment tingling from terror; then, confused and frightened, he took to his heels and made off as fast as he could lay his feet to the ground.
In the very instant when Oliver began to run, the old gentleman, putting his hand to his pocket, and missing his handkerchief, turned sharp round. Seeing the boy scudding away, he very naturally concluded him to be the depredator; and shouting “Stop thief!” with all his might, made off after him. But the old gentleman was not the only person who raised the hue-and-cry. The Dodger and Master Bates, unwilling to attract public attention by running down the open street, had merely retired into the very first doorway round the corner. They no sooner heard the cry, and saw Oliver running, than, guessing exactly how the matter stood, they issued forth with great promptitude; and, shouting “Stop thief!” too, joined in the pursuit like good citizens.

“Wicked Muslims!” our two Jewish Artful Dodgers are shouting. “Can’t you see how they hate the West and want to destroy us?” Well, yes, we can, but some of us can also see who the original West-haters are. Mark Steyn claims not to be Jewish, but his ancestry shines through time after time in his writing. Above all, there’s his dishonesty. One week he’s mocking anti-Semites for claiming that the tiny nation of Israel could have such a powerful influence for bad on the world’s affairs. The following week he’s praising the British Empire for having had such a powerful influence for good. You know, the world-bestriding British Empire – as created by a tiny nation called Britain.

If the Brits could do it openly and honestly, Mr Steyn, why can’t the yids do it by fraud and deception? And the yids have done it, of course. They’ve run immigration policy and “race relations” in Europe and America since the 1960s, and Steyn is very fond of pointing out what’s in store for Europe as our Jew-invited non-white guests grow in number and really start to show their appreciation of our hospitality.

Funnily enough, I’ve never seen him point out that the same is in store for North America, which has its own rapidly growing non-white swarms. And when Steyn launches one of his regular attacks on the lunacies of multi-culturalism and anti-racism, a central fact always somehow seems to escape his notice. He recently once again bemoaned the psychotic “Western self-loathing” that has such a “grip on the academy, the media, the Congregational and Episcopal Churches, the ‘arts’ and Hollywood”. Exhibit one: the multi-culti, hug-the-world, “Let’s all be nice to the Muslims” memorial for 9/11. This was his list of those responsible for it:

Tom Bernstein... Michael Posner... Eric Foner... George Soros...
Well, that’s a Jew, a Jew, a Jew, and a Jew – sounds like a lampshade collector showing off his Auschwitz shelf. But fearless “Tell It Like It Is” Steyn, ever-ready to mock the “racial sensitivity” of deluded liberals, is himself very sensitive about race when it comes to the Chosen Ones. He’ll kick dark-skinned Muslims and their liberal appeasers till the sacred cows come home and he can start kicking them too, but just like Melanie Phillips he never whispers a word about the Jews who created liberal appeasement or about the enormous power Jews wield in “the academy, the media, the 'arts', and Hollywood”.

The same is true of all other Jewish “conservatives”. They’re shouting “Stop thief!” at the top of their voices and hoping that no-one will notice that they all belong to the biggest race of thieves who ever existed. Those bombs went off in London because Jews have stolen large parts of Britain from their rightful White inhabitants and handed them over to the non-white followers of a psychotic alien religion. When non-whites commit more and worse atrocities in future, you won’t need to ask who’s really responsible: it’s liberal Jews like Tom Bernstein and George Soros, who organize mass immigration and the anti-racism industry, and “conservative” Jews like Mark Steyn and Melanie Phillips, who distract White attention from the racial motives of Jews like Soros and Bernstein. Heads they win, tails we lose – liberal, “conservative”, they’re all of them Jews.

Huh? (2, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085498)

Death by a thousand disruptions could be just as effective

What disruption? The service continued to work fine. It was only the status page that reported it was down, which doesn't actually impact the service.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33086492)

Reading any article from The Wall Street Journal that references Google, it has become clear to me that they have a serious hard-on for Google. Anyone care to share their perspective as to why?

Re:Huh? (1)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33087932)

They (as in the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, etc) only have a "hard-on" for anything that fits in with the Murdoch agenda. In this case, the goal is to criticize the Chinese government's growing favoritism for local, government-owned business (Baidu) over legitimate foreign competitors (Google). They're not even necessarily wrong; at least, this is one of the few places where I'm not immediately dismissing the article as blatant right-wing shilling just because it's coming from a News Corp property.

Re:Huh? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#33092856)

Thats stupid. WSJ != Fox news. And Murdoch fucking hates Google to the core. Seriously.

Re:Huh? (1)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33092954)

If you've been paying attention to the opinion section of the WSJ, it's been sliding closer and closer to Fox's view ever since Murdoch bought them; they're definitely cribbing off the same set of notes. And the only thing Murdoch hates more than Google is the thought of a government being anti-business, specifically being anti-his-business, and that's what's going on here in China.

Re:Huh? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#33087312)

Death by a thousand disruptions could be just as effective

What disruption? The service continued to work fine. It was only the status page that reported it was down, which doesn't actually impact the service.

You would be confused too if your firewall was 'erectiflied".

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33095324)

I live in China, and what happens is they often don't "block" a website permanently, but just a few minutes or even a few seconds. So they basically make it a pain in the ass to use. For example yesterday I was looking for images of cereal, but almost every other minute the page wouldn't load for 10 to 30 seconds.

Baidu is American (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33087250)

The irony here is that the "Chinese" Baidu is just as American as Google.

In case you're too lazy to check yourself: Baidu was founded by a Chinese face with an American passport, Robin Li, he's still the CEO. The board of Baidu is largely American, or at least non-Chinese. The investors are mostly American, it's listed on the Nasdaq, but not on any Chinese stock exchange and IPO'd by Goldman Sachs. Despite the perception here, many Chinese and especially the Chinese government regard Baidu as a foreign private (thats 2 evils) company in every sense.

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