China blocks almost all Google services in anticipation of Tiananmen Square anniversary

The 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, where the Chinese government brutally cracked down on demonstrators protesting against human rights issues and political corruption, is quickly approaching. The event is widely known in the rest of the world, but China has taken drastic steps to suppress any word of the protests -- and that suppression continues today. According to reports, China has completely blocked access to almost all Google services, including Gmail, searches, translation, and images, for anyone inside the country.

According to Greatfire.org, an independent anti-censorship blog, China has utilized the government-run Golden Shield Project to suppress Google's services. China did the same in 2012 when they blocked all Google services ahead of the 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress, and while the block was lifted after only 12 hours, China's actions in suppressing information aren't unheard of. In fact, stories of Chinese censorship are so common that we even have an entire news logo dedicated to the nation.

The block has been in place for five days, and according to the New York Times, Google traffic in China has dropped almost 50 percent. But there is still hope for those who want to access Google during the block. Greatfire.org offers a number of ideas to bypass the filter, including connecting directly by using https://203.208.41.144, or utilizing one of their mirror sites to access Google regularly. 

Although theirs may be more widespread than most, China still isn't the only country to engage in internet censorship recently. Turkey blocked access to Twitter in late March, and later blocked access to Google's public DNS servers to stop users from bypassing the ban. And while Turkey eventually overturned the Twitter ban, China's content censorship is still going strong. 

Source: Greatfire.org via the New York TimesImage via The Telegraph

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22 Comments

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Confirmed; I'm currently at a Shanghai airport and the DNS entries for Google go nowhere. I could use the IP and it sort of works.

Facebook on the other hand, I can't get around it either via Opera Turbo servers or entering the IP manually.

On top of that, I can't connect to my own home VPN to get around this block. Definitely thinking twice in the future about having anymore connecting flights through mainland China in the future.

Denis W. said,
On top of that, I can't connect to my own home VPN to get around this block. Definitely thinking twice in the future about having anymore connecting flights through mainland China in the future.

Enable SSL over your home connection and use alternative entry ports (ie 80).

I'm already back in Canada but what I ended up doing was SSH'ing into my home box and mapping a port locally to use as a SOCKS proxy. Fortunately it worked.

Chinese government does not admit massacre in 1989 and wants to keep local Chinese people blind about the massacre.
There is no surprise to block Google services.
I hear that it even blocks some Hong Kong newspaper web sites all the time.

You think China really gives a rats a** what the rest of the world thinks?
As people constantly stand in line for the latest (insert name) electronic gizmo?
As long as the world keeps buying the things produced out of China, they'll just
flip the bird and laugh all the way to the bank.

China needs to stop being little bitches and fess up to their past crimes. You can't move forward without acknowledgement of your past.

I love how governments don't understand the way things work. As has already been suggested, a proxy would be the easiest idea to have unrestricted access. Failing that, satellite communications and all the other tech means that if someone wants to get a message out there, they can. To quote Serenity, "you can't stop the signal, man."

And for the best solution, a proxy DNS server so that your traffic goes right to Google's servers. I'm assuming they're blocking based on DNS traffic at least...

I currently live in China and i registered to reply. Yes nothing stops a signal from being transmitted but when youre really fighting aganist actual ignorence in a society caused by people, communication technologies become a small part of that overall problem. Many, nearly all of youngsters here knew nothing about the protest. they use no fb nor twitter. Yes they can easily buy VPN but they do not because the user experience is terrible, and because of the incompatibility across platforms, and because most of them dont know how to. Sure enough the government understands the way things work. This kind of block is a more social than technical thing, and to 'hack' it maybe we need more sites like greatfire and google and for this time neowin, who pronounce when an issue comes in the way.

merandus said,
I hope their firewall is not strong as Iran's which block access to lots and lots of vpn, and proxies and TOR

China has probably the best in the world, they are all blocked and from what I remember reading, using encrypted VPNs marks your traffic for further analysis.

"utilizing one of their mirror sites to access Google regularly."
What worries me about mirror sites when sites you are trying to access being fully blocked is just that, they are mirror sites, how can you trust them or know the content they are showing is actually the content on the real site? You can't.