UPDATE, 6:45 a.m. EST, Nov. 10: Greatfire.org is reporting that Google is again accessible in China. The Golden Shield censors used “DNS poisoning” to block google, basically changing the settings on the DNS servers they control to lead users entering “google.com” into their browsers to a block page instead of actually Google.com.
Some advice from Geatfire.org:
“Due to the nature of DNS there is a delay before this trickles down to every ISP and every computer so if you still cannot access Google in China it’s likely just a question of time. You can also try to flush your DNS cache and it should work again.”
Google Search Blocked in China; Likely Over Party Congress
Search giant Google was blocked in China on Friday, possibly to block people from accessing sensitive terms in relation to the 18th National Party Congress that will usher in a once-in-a-decade leadership change in the Chinese regime’s upper levels.
Greatfire, an organization that frequently tests websites and search terms inside China, made the discovery that google.com cannot be accessed in the most populous country on Earth, saying that “it’s the first time since we started tracking online censorship in China in February last year that this has happened.”
Visits by Chinese users won’t be tracked by Google anymore. Foreign websites using Google Analytics to track their visitors will currently track 0 users coming from China, whether or not their website itself is blocked.
“The subdomains www.google.com, mail.google.com, google-analytics.com, docs.google.com, drive.google.com, maps.google.com, play.google.com and perhaps many more are all currently DNS poisoned in China,” it continued.
It said that the blocking of Google Analytics, the company’s service that generates website statistics, is especially of note.
“Visits by Chinese users won’t be tracked by Google anymore. Foreign websites using Google Analytics to track their visitors will currently track 0 users coming from China, whether or not their website itself is blocked,” Greatwall said.
If users attempt to access Google and its accompanying sites, they are redirected to an IP address in Korea that does not serve any website, meaning that Google Search--the most basic service provided by the Internet firm since it was launched back in 1998--will not work for Chinese users.
Chinese users would have to use a VPN, or a virtual private network, or another circumvention tool to access the site, Greatwall noted. However, many VPNs and other circumvention tools “have been working poorly or not at all” over the past couple of days, it said.
However, it added that Chinese netizens can still access some of the country-specific versions of Google, including www.google.co.uk.
The National Party Congress is a critical period for the Chinese Communist Party as it makes a leadership transition. Leading up to the congregation, authorities in Beijing and in other Chinese cities deployed throngs of security forces to prevent any incidents of public protest from taking place.
And since early this year, certain searches on Sina Weibo, one of the most popular microblogging websites in China, have been blocked in relation to the Party Congress. Terms related to presumed next paramount leader, Xi Jinping, have been blocked entirely.
Greatwall figures that blocking Google on the second day of the Party Congress “is surely no coincidence.”
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