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Chinese Government Appears To Be Blocking GitHub Via DNS

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the not-for-you dept.

Censorship 61

An anonymous reader writes "Reports are coming in that the social coding site GitHub has been blocked in China. While the service has seen blocks in the country before, this appears to be a much broader denial of service, affecting most, if not all users in the world's most populous country online and offline. GitHub released a statement saying: 'GitHub is still investigating, but it does appear that we’re at least being partly blocked by the Great Firewall of China. We’re looking into it, and will update with more information when we have it.'"

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61 comments

Duh! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42651101)

Re:Duh! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42652091)

There is an alternative explanation for the block, the automatic train ticket polling plugin hosted on GitHub.
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5090700

I'm from China and knows how hart it is to get a train ticket around the Chinese New Year. Apparently tons of people are using that plugin and brought down GitHub a few days ago. Blocking GitHub actually blocked that plugin.

That was frist thought/. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42652411)

Damn you AC!

Re:Duh! (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42652617)

It's funny, I've hosted customers that had sites blocked by China, and the blocks were always very specific.

So the blocks would affect the main target with urls like this https://github.com/chinesedissident/* [github.com] but didn't affect our other customers like this one https://github.com/otherguy/* [github.com] even if those other customers were using the same domain name.

In this case however, github makes it so easy to fork/clone the same project, and it's so widely used, the censors probably can't keep the block list up-to-date because the same project can get forked so many times under different name spaces. They probably just gave up and blocked everything.

In any case, if I was a Chinese-based programmer right now, I'd be very angry. There is bound to be some backlash because of this.

Re:Duh! (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42652961)

and in other news [slashdot.org] .

An unprecendented number of US-based programmers at Verizon and other major Corporations are taking their sick days today.

Communists Block Communism (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42651111)

News at 11! ... seriously though you'd think the "communist"/"capitalist" nature of github would appeal to China's government's philosophy or something.

Re:Communists Block Communism (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651789)

Finally, we have a retort for all those nutjobs:

Random right-wing American: "Open Source/Free Software/FLOSS is communism!"

Random hacker: "If so, why do the Chinese block it?"

Re:Communists Block Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42653551)

Context is everything.

In public, random right-wing nutjob rails against China/Communism.

In PRIVATE, they jealously long for the days where the Environmental Protection Agency no longer exists, where bribery is once again their friend, and where wealthy industrialists can call on the police to engage in mass brutality against "worker agitators".

If China sold citizenship to the highest bidder, maybe China would replace Dubai, Equador, and Panama as the place Patriotic Americans go to retire and shirk their civic duties.

Re:Communists Block Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42654627)

Have you ever been to China? It is more capitalist than the US.

Re:Communists Block Communism (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year and a half ago | (#42655789)

Uh, in what alternate reality is China Communist? They're actively suppressing communist activists. They wear the name, but want nothing to do with the philosophy (at least not those in power).

Re:Communists Block Communism (3, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651855)

Could it be that the Chinese Government is simply totalitarian with just enough wiggle room to allow a little capitalism to flourish for the moment? That the folks currently running China couldn't give a running fsck at a rolling doughnut what Mao thought, and that they are trying to steer 1.3 billion people through a crazy narrow place between keeping the wheels on the socialist cart and dealing with the pressures generated by information technology. On the other hand calling the folks at github "communist/capitalist" suggests that maybe you lack a deeper understanding of either? Perhaps? Of course you might just be making a bad joke in which case.. hahahahahahah :-)

But really, China is about control and github is about no control, I fail to see the mystery.

China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42651159)

It would be cool if we could get everyone to ban China from the rest of the net, just to fuck with them.

Re:China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42651209)

Then they ban all technology exports. $4000 PCs just for browsing the web because of supply and demand and we no longer have parts.

Re:China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42651717)

Until demand pushes manufacturing to Vietnam or Malaysia or Mexico or....

China isn't the only place that eventually could make computer stuff cheaply to appease our tax-avoiding greedlords.
I would suggest America but I'm trying to avoid the Randian hit list.

Re:China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42651811)

A China-US embargo will get you nowhere except an exchange of nukes.

At best, both economies will slow down to a crawl. China doesn't need the US anymore than the US needs China.
The US buys China-made toys while the Chinese favor US made tech and food instead of getting from some where else or making it themselves which they can.

If any single party had the advantage we would have seen it come into play in that last couple of years of this recession.

Re:China... (3, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651881)

Good luck with that considering many of the parts in our computers and communications hardware built in China have serious security compromises in the form of back doors.

Re:China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42694811)

> Good luck with that considering many of the parts in our computers
> and communications hardware built in China have serious security
> compromises in the form of back doors.

Just propaganda, or you have sufficient proof?

Good riddance, Xi (1)

hydrofix (1253498) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651193)

But I am sure that most users of any value for GitHub know how to easily circumvent The Great Firewall. But seriously, this is quite pathetic demonstration on China's part. Whom can GitHub hurt, anyway? Too bad I don't think there is a legal method to challenge the Chinese governments decisions for the Chinese citizens and residents.

Re:Good riddance, Xi (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651569)

I don't know about you, but for me some of the most valuable people on Github are the people submitting issues, bug reports and feature requests.

Re:Good riddance, Xi (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651903)

Frightened men losing control implement obscene and ridiculous actions... do I have to mention the recent spate of laws the media giants have attempted to get passed in the US and the EU?

Re:Good riddance, Xi (2)

JimCanuck (2474366) | about a year and a half ago | (#42652521)


It is about the train ticket program, many people in China feel cheated losing out to people with that program to automatically snip tickets, over a million train tickets were sold online in a mater of a couple of seconds due to it.

This is a FIVE day holiday for Chinese New Year, and many millions every year go back home to their traditional villages with their families, and being unable to buy tickets due to such a program is quite upsetting for them.

Hence the block.

Like an Apple nation (3, Interesting)

Kotoku (1531373) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651245)

It is just like a nationwide apple app store. When they secretly pick who can compete in China and who cannot with these firewall rules they are manipulating The economy and picking winners and losers without merit (usually Chinese companies that knock off Western ideas).

Re:Like an Apple nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42651321)

It is just like a nationwide apple app store. When they secretly pick who can compete [...]

Okay, seriously. I hate Apple as much as the next guy who values freedom in computing and would rather see their draconian ways brought to an end, but THAT'S where you're going with a comparison to CHINA? Seriously?!?

No, no, SERIOUSLY, you're comparing Apple to China, straight-up, head-on, no setup, no explanations, no nothing, right in the damn subject, you're just immediately going with that? The article's got nothing at all, not a single SENTENCE to do with Apple, and you just desperately lunge ahead to cram your opinions on Apple down our throats?

Yeah. You're on your own with that, bucko.

Re:Like an Apple nation (1)

Kotoku (1531373) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651349)

Its called an analogy. I dont have to go around explaining why I mention cars in them all the time, do I? ;)

Re:Like an Apple nation (4, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651553)

Well it IS actually insightful : Apple, fortunately, doesn't rule a country, but his process in approving contents for iPhones is pretty much the same : opaque and arbitrary, depending on hidden agenda and personal preferences. They used to push for no flash, no VoIP, no pornography. They allow themselves to forbid a standard, a technology, or a type of content. Their rejections come with minimal comment.

No, really, the parallels are striking.

Re:Like an Apple nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42658849)

Except that you can go to the store and buy a thousand different phones. No one in China can say - actually - I'm going to go with the other government.

Re:Like an Apple nation (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651945)

Yeah that's really crappy behavior... thank goodness we don't do anything like that in this country... ah... ahh... Aahhhhh... Haliburton!!! Scuze me!

O'Reilly Book? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42651299)

Shortly after O"Reilly release a book for free on GitHub about Government Freedom....

Times have changed (1, Offtopic)

joncombe (623734) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651339)

Time was when politicians in most Western countries would point at the Great Firewall of China as an example of a repressive regieme. Now they seek to emulate it.

The rise of Chinese economy and sinophobia (4, Insightful)

fufufang (2603203) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651401)

Well, I think quite a lot of people in the west are afraid of the rise of Chinese economy, fearing that China is going to take over the world one day. I think it is exactly this kind of behaviour that is causing the fear. I am from China. I think China is basically like Soviet Union with slightly more freedom and better economy. The political structure and censorship process are both still very Soviet-like. This kind of news does not do any good for China's international image. Most people in west don't want the world to be ruled by a nation that does not allow people's mind to be free. I personally don't want my thought process to be dictated by the commies from Beijing.

Re:The rise of Chinese economy and sinophobia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42652085)

This kind of news does not do any good for China's international image.

Even during the 2008 olympics they censored the hell out of the net, even when they promised not to do it, so what makes you think they give a rats ass about their international image?

People's Republic of China (2, Insightful)

kawabago (551139) | about a year and a half ago | (#42652367)

The name alone is hysterical! The people have nothing to do with the government of China. The name really should be the Communist Party's Republic of Oppression of the Chinese People. That would fall much more squarely on the truth side of things.

Re:People's Republic of China (1)

am 2k (217885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42652781)

The name alone is hysterical! The people have nothing to do with the government of China. The name really should be the Communist Party's Republic of Oppression of the Chinese People. That would fall much more squarely on the truth side of things.

It's always this way. The DDR (the former name for East Germany) is short for "Deutsche Demokratische Republik", which means "German Democratic Republic". It was anything but democratic.

Re:People's Republic of China (1)

dryeo (100693) | about a year and a half ago | (#42653255)

Huh? East Germany was very democratic, one man one vote with that man being the supreme ruler or whatever his title was.
Now here in the west we're not very democratic as only corporations seem to have the real vote.

Re:People's Republic of China (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about a year and a half ago | (#42653495)

Ankh-Morpork has the same rule of One Man, One Vote: Vetinari is The Man, and he has The Vote.

Re:The rise of Chinese economy and sinophobia (1)

storkus (179708) | about a year and a half ago | (#42652917)

I have to disagree with you: I have yet to see any real Sinophobia, at least here in America--hell, Chinese (nearly slave) labor helped build the West! Rather, the phobia is of jobs being lost to cheap labor overseas, of which China is just the biggest one (for now), and that will start changing if robotics start taking off (watch the Twilight Zone episode The Brain Center at Whipple's [wikipedia.org] to see how far back this fear goes).

Truthfully, there is only one real fear of China by the West: that they want to become the world's new superpower, replacing the old Soviet Union. Once they accomplish this, with their combined capitalist/(communist/fascist) hybrid, they can bring serious political pressure on the entire world without having to fire a shot. This could also push Chinese into becoming a mainstream language outside China, causing all sorts of problems such as being a strong tonal language (most Western languages are not) and the historic poor compatibility with computers.

Re:The rise of Chinese economy and sinophobia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42653413)

I have to disagree with you: I have yet to see any real Sinophobia, at least here in America--hell, Chinese (nearly slave) labor helped build the West!

Africans did slave labor as well. Ask any black man who isn't named Barack how that's working out for him. People, even more so in militarist/Fascist states, are indoctrinated to hate "them", and "them" always refers to whoever is more convenient to the ruling elite at the time.

Once they accomplish this, with their combined capitalist/(communist/fascist) hybrid, they can bring serious political pressure on the entire world without having to fire a shot.

The nerve of these evil chinks! Everyone knows the civilized thing to do is invade, kill everything that moves and only then tell them what to do.

Re:The rise of Chinese economy and sinophobia (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about a year and a half ago | (#42653485)

Most people in west don't want the world to be ruled by a nation that does not allow people's mind to be free.

No, a lot of people in every part of the world are perfectly okay with that happening, as long as the rules are the ones that they want.

As Mad Max said in "The Road Warrior"... apk (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42651409)

"2 days ago I saw a vehicle that'd haul that tanker... you want get outta here? You talk to me..." -> http://www.start64.com/index.php?option=com_content&id=5851:apk-hosts-file-engine-64bit-version&Itemid=74 [start64.com]

* :)

APK

P.S.=> Ghost in the machine, & "Last of the V-8 Interceptors... a piece of history"...

... apk

QUESTION: How's a downmod justifiable (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42651965)

The source article proves me correct by this quote from its content:

"Did a traceroute and this reveals an expected result. It is really the DNS which returns a wrong value â(TM)59.24.3.173â instead of the expected â(TM)207.97.227.239â, so it looks like a dns poisoning attempt or some other dns issue. Editing your /etc/hosts file or using opendns can help in this case." - FROM -> http://thenextweb.com/asia/2013/01/21/the-chinese-government-appears-to-have-completely-blocked-github-via-dns/ [thenextweb.com]

* See subject-line above...

APK

P.S.=> This really takes the cake... lol!

... apk

QUESTION: How's my post off topic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42656049)

Hosts = a valid work-around per the source article, & I posted this -> http://www.start64.com/index.php?option=com_content&id=5851:apk-hosts-file-engine-64bit-version&Itemid=74 [start64.com] which is ALL ABOUT custom hosts files, & what they can do for you as the end user of them to your benefit on a myriad of levels...

* It's like getting a turbo-charger for speed, quadruple your websurfing mileage/bandwidth back, a suit of armor vs. online threats, better reliability vs. DNS outages + redirect poisonings, & even better anonymity to an extent vs. DNSBL's & DNS request logs (lessening loads on those though, so "bonus" server-side to them on that account - less usage).

It works... & yes, IS on topic, because it provides the cure:

"Did a traceroute and this reveals an expected result. It is really the DNS which returns a wrong value Ã(TM)59.24.3.173Ã instead of the expected Ã(TM)207.97.227.239Ã, so it looks like a dns poisoning attempt or some other dns issue. Editing your /etc/hosts file or using opendns can help in this case." - FROM -> http://thenextweb.com/asia/2013/01/21/the-chinese-government-appears-to-have-completely-blocked-github-via-dns/ [thenextweb.com]

1 that's EASILY end-iser "manual-shift" controlled & made easier so for end users in a multithreaded self-contained single 'stand-alone' executable (pretty sure it could be considered portable too)!

I do both of the above (& tons more, for the concept of "layered-security"/"defense-in-depth" -> http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&tbo=d&output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=%22HOW+TO+SECURE+Windows+2000/XP%22&btnG=Submit&gbv=1&sei=u5X-ULHKPJOg8QSr2YC4BA [google.com] )

APK

P.S.=> Anyhow/anyways - see my subject above! apk

Who fucking cares! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42651457)

Only the people in china! And they can't read about this anyway!

China still repressive and evil. News at 11. Non story. Not news. Not even new.

Re:Who fucking cares! (1)

enickel (2318084) | about a year and a half ago | (#42654157)

I live in china and I can read this. Can't get to github though.

Sure wish it was vice versa :)

Can't Connect Even With Open DNS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42651475)

I can't connect even while using Open DNS. The most common issues I have noticed in China are DNS cache poisoning attacks. Using Google DNS hardly ever works. Open DNS is generally better.

It's Right Before the Spring Festival Now (1)

LuxuryYacht (229372) | about a year and a half ago | (#42651611)

Security seems to be much higher here currently. We are having a more difficult time right now shipping anything such as liquids and chemicals using the local logistics companies within China. I've asked around, and the most common answer is that it's due to it being right before the busiest travel period in China.

Can't they just use proxies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42652197)

I wonder, how can firewall block the site. Wouldn't users just use SOCKS4/5 proxies to access those sites?
Or do they block proxies too? But how can they know what is the proxy and what isn't?

Same question is for the blocked sites in Russia.

Or is this the case that majority just doesn't know what proxy is?

DNS? Easiest block to get around (1)

redelm (54142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42652379)

Am I missing something? DNS is the easiest (trivial) block to get around, just enter the dotted quad -- 207.97.227.239 in this case.

If all DNS traffic to their nameservers is blocked, you might need to enter some more (images.github.com) in your hosts file.

Really just a very low hurdle -- kinda like the US fiscal-cliff (just a sidewalk crack).

hey grumpy old bureaucrats in beijing: (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42652763)

governments that work on consensus last forever

governments based on intimidation, force, and censorship are doomed

make no mistake, you are going to learn this the hard way (revolt) or the easy way (road map to change)

good luck

People don't last forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42658209)

Given the choice of

a) A long lasting ("forever") government with no concrete immediate personal gain

or

b) A short term ("doomed") government with highly visible, immediate, and tremendous personal gain

Any sane rational self interested individual (who doesn't last forever) would choose b)

At best, you will care for a few generations after you, but that's still far away from "forever". The Iroquois had some principle about planning for 7 generations, but what's 7 generations? If each gen had children between 20-30, you might get 200 years. Longer than a person's mortal life, but not forever.

But let's forget what actually happened to the Iroquois: defeated by European powers (and the European powers probably didn't plan for their colonies becoming independent). Humans have yet to be able to reliably predict the future.

Until that day comes, it's irrational to think anything will last "forever". No rational self interested person would choose option a), and go with b) instead.

Re:People don't last forever (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42661157)

Cahokia!

Forever!

Top page opens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42652943)

Top page of https://github.com/ [github.com] opens currently from within China (happened to be in transit in Shanghai airport when I read the /. article).

maybe it's because of the Spring Festival homerush (5, Informative)

dapic (527891) | about a year and a half ago | (#42653405)

Usual totalitarian bashing aside, this may actually be the real reason:

Back ground info: Spring Festival is coming (this year it's Feb. 10th), which calls for all people to go home to unite with their family. And this makes the train tickets very difficult to obtain and the beginning and ending the holidays. The railway ministry in China has build an online train-ticket buying/reserving system (12306.cn) a couple years back and it is now well known when new tickets would be available online, and they sell out within minutes.

A while ago some Chinese programmer wrote a (naive) browser plugin to automate the ticket reserving operation. A few factors contributed to this plugin causing a lot of extra strain on the already burdened 12306.cn site: it would poll the site repeatedly if the service was not available; as it relies on some Javascript hosted on GitHub and it tries to load that repeatedly as well; the plugin is packaged in some binary distribution of a couple Chinese re-branded browsers which brags about it's ability to "help you grab the ticket".

As a result, it brought down GitHub a couple weeks ago (when the grabbing of this years tickets begin), and the ticket sellout windows went from minutes to seconds.

The railway ministry is pissed and claim that this practice is "illegal" or "immoral" and should be banned. Blocking Github could just be the attempt at blocking that "ticket assistant" plugin: No Github, no plugin.

refernce: http://www.techinasia.com/china-railway-ministry-asks-kingsoft-shut-browser-addon/ [techinasia.com]

Re:maybe it's because of the Spring Festival homer (1)

BlackThorne_DK (688564) | about a year and a half ago | (#42654551)

Wow! And here I thought, that the high speed trading markets was limited to stock markets and concerts.
Seriously? Train tickets?

Re:maybe it's because of the Spring Festival homer (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year and a half ago | (#42656175)

That and Nexus 4s.

Anytime you sell a limited commodity below market prices you end up with situations like this. In the case of high-speed trading selling below market prices isn't intended, and the practice is just the result of some people understanding the market better than others (ie a few nanoseconds faster). In the case of most other things there is some strange sense of fairness that dictates that products that are limited in availability be sold at ordinary prices leading to these huge runs.

The solution in this sort of situation is simple - just have a dutch auction. Everybody places bids for their train tickets and whatever price is sufficient to sell all of them is used to settle the trades.

For various reasons this is popularly called "price gouging," but the fact is that gouging of one sort or another is bound to happen. If you do traditional price gouging then those with the most money get the sale. If you instead set up lines (a la iPhone debuts) then those who have the most free time get the sale (oh, and since time is money it works out the same - just pay somebody to stand in line for you). If you instead set up some kind of online first-come-first-serve stampede then those who have the best technology get the sale (and since you can buy technical expertise again it works out the same). And, of course, those who get items in a rush frequently put them up for sale on various black/grey markets and the result is that those with money get their tickets/phones/generators/whatever. In the interest of fairness we end up setting up markets that are both unfair, and inefficient as a bonus (with all kinds of middle-men profiting off of trades that could just be two-party).

If we weren't dealing with Asians... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42662847)

No, seriously. In my experience, Asians have a near universal tendency to pick one variable and one variable only in making a decision. Usually it's cost. Factors like quality or originality don't enter the equation. (Think about shoddy iPhone clones.) Same goes for the consequences. Your argument is totally solid, but to the common Chinese the price set by the authority is X. Period. All these other influences on the real price don't matter. It's a lot to do with deferential mentalities, and how Asians lack ingenuity.

Same for the Air Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42653783)

The US Air Force blocks it too. Along with a thousand other really useful places that help you get your job done while they leave streaming Fox News open for every body and their brother to destroy the bandwidth. I think their motto must be "Would this web be useful and make employees productive? Block it!"

oblig xkcd reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42654141)

They may be blocking github because of this [xkcd.com] :p

Three Words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42654701)

GitHub has Bitcoin!

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