China’s internet firewall has been working in overdrive lately in the wake of the crackdown on the Tibet protests.Â Last week Google video and Youtube (owned by Google) were down all week; Youtube came back online on Sunday.Â Google News in English, news.google.com, was even down for a day!Â Last week, I also ran into other screens and filters that normally don’t impede my surfing of the net in China, indicating that indeed, China’s internet censors were working overtime.
Despite all the blocking, what I found interesting is that my Chinese colleagues knew about the situation in Tibet even before I did (I wasn’t really watching the news when it started).Â Many of them had also seen videos of the situation before all the videos sites got blocked.
Though the Chinese government has only temporarily blocked international videos sites such as Youtube, it’s taking a harder stance with Chinese sites and forcing many to shut down altogether.Â To escape a similar fate, Google has and continues to filter its news.google.cn results for searches in mainland China.
If all this is frustrating to you, try a new Wiki site called Wikileaks which is dedicated to getting information in front of the public eye.Â Wikileaks released many videos and photos of the Tibet situation, and is, not surprisingly, blocked.Â However, a simple proxy server will solve that problem and the videos are a lot easier to view than Youtube’s were all last week.
If the great firewall of China still hinders your movement around the net, options include the Firefox plug-in Gladder and Tor, a volunteer relay system that allows users to surf the web anonymously.Â Tor may be just the answer we China-based, avid internet users need to have full access to the information available on the internet.