Media regulation

Amnesty, RSF, BBC Chinese web pages unblocked

The last two days have seen some serious complaints from the international media about China's ongoing Internet censorship, which was supposed to be suspended at least for international media during the Games: see Jane Macartney's piece in The Times published this morning: How internet Great Firewall is souring relations with the media.

Suddenly this afternoon, the previously hard-blocked websites of Amnesty International, Reporters Sans Frontieres and Chinese pages of the BBC are all available in the capital.

And the sun has come out and the sky is blue in Beijing.

However, websites of organizations like Fаlungong and Tibetan exile organizations are still blocked.

Update: Taiwan's Apple Daily, and Radio Free Asia are also available.

There are currently 16 Comments for Amnesty, RSF, BBC Chinese web pages unblocked.

Comments on Amnesty, RSF, BBC Chinese web pages unblocked

This is very good news, to be sure, for a variety of reasons.

One of my Chinese colleagues was very curious to check out the Apple Daily that he has heard about but never been able to read until today.

Of course, the fact that the government rolled over so quickly and dramatically on this issue makes me wonder if this and the other pre-Olympic reforms will be reversed with equally dramatic speed in October.

Uyghur exile sites are also still blocked.

its not this afternoon, its since 00:00 Aug 1.

This should be interesting. What may very well happen is that sites like RSF and Amnesty International will find themselves being 'engaged' at a whole new and overwhelming level. Will be a curious one to watch. What happens in the next few weeks will determine 'roll backs.' It could go the other way, depending on how it's spun by the home team and their supporters. It could get very shrill.

Has RSF's Chinese website been unblocked?

Jeremy,

I'm in Beijing right now (in a hotel), and I've had no problems accessing any of the Tibet exile organization websites since July 25th, the day I arrived.

That includes:
www.tibet.com
www.tibet.net
www.dalailama.com

On July 25th, I also tried Boxun... any sites that struck me at the moment, and they were available.

Today, I have just tried:

RSF-Chinese.org
the Epoch Times (in Englsh and Chinese)

NO problems of any kind.

So... what the heck are the journalists (and you) talking about? Are people making this stuff up? I've never known hotels to get special treatment in the past, so I can't imagine why it'd be different now.

Buxi

Which hotel are you in? It does sometime make a difference: certain hotels have good connections, possibly because they use VPN services for their Internet connection, a fact that they do not advertise because it is technically illegal, even though many multinationals are utterly reliant on VPNs.

From my home ADSL connection (China Netcom), I cannot see any of the websites you mention. I had the same results at an office building in Beijing this afternoon: RSF English OK, but not Chinese, none of the Tibet or FLG sites, including Epoch Times.

Of course, with a VPN or proxy, everything is available, but then that's always the case.

Jeremy,

Thanks for the explanation. That's definitely a possibility; I'm in one of Li Jiacheng's hotels in Beijing, so it wouldn't be too much of a surprise to find out he had backdoors.

A friend of mine never have any problem accessing any site at his workplace. He works for Warner Brothers in Beijing.

And hey Jeremy, I saw you were in NBC Nightly News. You were looking good, and I heard you saying that foreign journalists are kind of whiners because they can always get around the Great Fire Wall using VPN or proxy. Not cool, but I am sure NBC took things out of context, because we all know you hate the net nanny as much as we do.

However, not all of us wants to pay for a VPN. And proxies don't work for everything. eg. iTune podcasts, iTune doesn't support proxy. Those god damn commies have blocked my favorite IGN podcasts since October 2007. IGN is a video game review site.

And I just checked. iTune's IGN podcasts are unblocked. PRAISE THE OLYMPICS. I hope those journalists will never leave.

Eugene, iTunes does support proxies if you are on Mac and use the AppleMenu->Location setting. I use an SSH tunneling proxy to download podcasts on iTunes all the time. But then yes, otherwise you'd need to VPN out to transfer podcasts that are GFW'ed.

If you don't want to pay for VPN, try the free www.hotspotshield.com

I really don't understand why the journalists need those websites to report on the Olympics. Can't they write their stories by themselves or they need to copy them from other websites? This whole thing is just about whining and bashing on China.

As a westerner in China, I'm just getting tired with the way western press reports on China: pollution & human rights are the only topics to write about.

Xanga needs to be unblocked, and xanga is not even a media site!

@OL,

We all thought that journalists write "new"s, things that people don't know before, and things they have just come across. Because every journalist has his/her own experiences, we expect them to write about different "new" things. But no, journalists write in pacts. They write in a conformed way. They write about things in ways that they think are safe to write, i.e., things that have been written before, in ways that have been written before, or things (in ways) that they think others will write about. Journalists do not write about "new"s, they write about stereotypes, old stories, etc. I like criticisms on China. But they all write the same criticism, all in the same way. This makes you wonder if there is indeed free and independent thinking in the free media from the free world.

@on the other hand
Oh there is free and independent thinking in the free world. It just doesn't occur in any popular media. It seems like the editors have to dumb down the articles and remove many information to appeal to the masses. The real reporting happens on the journalists' blogs or "less connected" media like danwei.

In my opinion, they should block Fаlungong. It's a horrible practice of qi. The person who invented it created this concept of wheels in the human body which practiced a certain way will make you immortal. You're not supposed to take any medicine when you're medically sick, and the way the qi is practice often makes the person go crazy. It used to be legal in China and a lot of people practiced it but many people died because of it. Then China exiled the guy who was spreading how great it was and US gov gave him sanctuary. I don't think many people know how bad Fаlungong is for your body because they don't believe in qi, but I've seen and heard about people close to me who died because they believed it too much. You also have to understand, a lot of Chinese, especially of the older generation, are superstitious and ignorant so they believe that stuff even when the Chinese gov and people around them who love them tell them not to believe it.

I still don't get it why they block the Huffingtonpost...They work in mysterious ways.

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