Censorship is the sincerest form of flattery

I guess they noticed.

A good friend in China – who signs his emails “my mouth is blocked in China” – tells me that the Great Firewall has started blocking freehaowu.com, freehaowu.org, freewuhao.org and freewuhao.com. They’ve not yet blocked ethanzuckerman.com/haowu or 66.199.228.30/haowu. All six names point to the same server – ethanzuckerman.com, which lives at 66.199.228.30 – this pattern of blocking suggests that the firewall is filtering on a domain name basis, not on an IP basis. (And all names are accessible via a proxy, suggesting my friend is not having problems with the domain name redirects, but with actual blocking at the router level.)

As an experiment, I just registered freeourfriend.org and redirected it to 66.199.228.30/haowu – we’ll see how long that one stays accessible. (If you can’t reach that address now, don’t assume – yet – that it’s blocked. It will take at least 24 hours for DNS to propogate… we’d expect to see the domain become reachable tomorrow or Sunday, and get blocked sometime afterwards.) I’m curious whether the firewall is going to block all simple domains that point to content on Hao Wu, or just to domain names that include his name.

My friend in China also believes that pages including the character sequence 吴皓 are being intermittently blocked. We’re testing to see if that’s true – he saw a Flickr page including 吴皓 blocked recently.

If the firewall begins blocking my site based on IP address rather than by domain name, I’m going to need to start mirroring the blog on other IPs. I’m reluctant to mirror it on our Harvard server because I’d prefer that Global Voices as a whole not be blocked in China. If you run your own WordPress server and would be interested in mirroring the Hao Wu blog if we do end up being blocked in China, I’d love your help. Please email or IM me – I’m “ethanz” on gmail.

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4 Responses to Censorship is the sincerest form of flattery

  1. zhwj says:

    Just a data point – Have the redirected domain names ever been accessible? I’ve never been able to access the site at the names you’ve mentioned through Beijing Netcom; only ethanzuckerman.com works for me.

    Something similar with the redirects happened to China Digital Times when they were changing their name – of a group of different redirect servers, some were blocked and some weren’t, so access from China was sporadic. Don’t know how they cleared it up. The Hao Wu domain names don’t point directly to 66.199.228.30, but rather 66.199.228.32 or other intermediate servers, all of which are inaccessible here. You might want to think of registering a name with a different registrar to see if that clears things up.

  2. Ethan says:

    It’s a good question, zhwj – the redirects are accessible here in the US, though some people report they’ve had issues with them. I’m doing them through Zoneedit, who I’ve used for years. Perhaps pointing directly would solve my problems with accessibility in China – I’ll look into it.

  3. Ntwiga says:

    I almost missed it: the “Great Firewall” of China.

    Nice turn of phrase.

  4. Jeff says:

    China firewall is lame, use water to put out the fire of the wall but how do you get over the wall? – use Freedur.com to bypass it. You can bypass China Great Firewall and access youtube, facebook, blogger and all other sites which are blocked.

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