Checking China Censorship

WebSitePulse has a China firewall test that gives users a way to check if a particular website is being blocked by the Chinese government. A TV news item from the Olympics noted that multiple blogging athletes had no access to their weblogs from the Olympic Village. In the cases of sponsored athletes, part of the sponsorship deal apparently was having the sponsor mentioned regularly on the weblogs during the Olympics, which would pose difficulties under the circumstances.

I’m not sure of just how thorough the Chinese censorship regime is. While several websites I manage appear to be received just fine in China, I think that if I were going there and wanted to keep updates flowing on the weblog, I would be planning ahead for the eventuality that I might not be able to get direct access while in the country. WordPress has a feature allowing it to post emailed entries, which seems like a good first resort to not seeing the blog page. One wouldn’t, of course, be able to view or moderate comments in that condition. Second would be to set up a friend to be able to post on my blog for me and email entries to them. Blocking that would require that all my outgoing email was filtered. It’s relatively easy to protect content by use of encrypted attachments, which means the next step for a censor would be either to block all my internet access — or otherwise restrain me.

Like I said, I don’t know how seriously the censorship is taken or how extensive, but I think one of the email workarounds would likely work for at least a limited amount of time. Any China internet experts care to weigh in?

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.