ONI analysis of Internet filtering during Beijing Olympic Games: Week 1

By: on 19 August 2008
Posted in Asia, China

ONI compared data from the Olympics Main Press Center (MPC) to that from other locations in Beijing, compiling a snapshot of Internet filtering in China leading up to week 1 of the Olympics.

Journalists’ access is home access

For each test at the MPC, ONI tested at other locations in Beijing with broadband Internet access provided by China Netcom. The filtering was nearly identical between the MPC and home access in Beijing, indicating that the incrementally increased openness achieved by reminding China of its Olympic promises benefit all Beijingers. Tests across China suggest that the same sites have been made accessible elsewhere, with the exception of http://usolympictibetinfo.blogspot.com
and the Tibetan and Uyghur language news sites of Radio Free Asia.

As noted in a previous blog post, any increased access to long-filtered content can be recognized as a promising development. However, foreign-hosted Chinese-language news sites have been the main beneficiaries of China’s Olympic guarantees, while the majority of advocacy sites and politically ‘sensitive’ organizations remain blocked. This filtering sweeps across a broad swath of issues, from the Dui Hua Foundation to the Three Gorges Probe, as well as nearly all Tibetan advocacy organizations. For example, while Chinese Wikipedia is accessible, the filtered status of Boxun.com, a dissident news website that Chinese government officials reportedly look to as a source of internal news, remains unchanged. Furthermore, the accessibility of any website does not guarantee that content on that site will be available, as China’s practice of filtering keywords through a tcp reset appears as robust as ever. In just one of many examples, a video of a protest led by a founder of Students for a Free Tibet near Tiananmen Square triggered a tcp reset.

The following sites were blocked at the Main Press Center as of July 25:

IP blocking
Uyghur rights
http://www.uyghuramerican.org/

Tibet-related content
http://tibetanyouthuk.blogspot.com/
http://tibetonline.tv/
http://woeser.middle-way.net/
http://www.actfortibet.org/
http://www.radiotibettoronto.com/
http://www.savetibet.org/
http://www.rsf.org/
http://www.studentsforafreetibet.org/
http://www.tcv.org.in/
http://www.thetibetconnection.org/
http://www.thetibetmuseum.org/
http://www.tibetanjournalists.org/
http://www.tibetanyouthcongress.org/
http://www.tibetbroadcast.com/
http://www.tibetsites.com/
http://www.tibhomes.org/
http://www.worldtibetday.org/
http://www.xizang-zhiye.org/
http://www.vot.org/

Watchdogs and advocacy organizations
http://crd-net.org/
http://www.boycottmadeinchina.org/
http://www.civilhrfront.org/
http://www.cpj.org/
http://www.duihua.org/
Http://www.hrichina.org/
http://www.hrw.org/chinese/
http://www.ned.org/
http://www.olympicwatch.org/
http://www.smhric.org/
http://www.threegorgesprobe.org/

Independent media and blogs
http://1bao.org/
http://chinadigitaltimes.net/
http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/china_law_prof_blog/
http://memedia.cn
http://rconversation.blogs.com/
http://www.atnext.com/
http://www.boxun.com/
http://www.cchere.net
http://www.inmediahk.net/
http://www.newtaiwan.com.tw/
http://www.ntdtv.com/
http://www.orientaldaily.com.my
http://www.rfa.org/
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/
http://www.rfa.org/tibetan/
http://www.rfa.org/uyghur/
http://www.rfanews.org/
http://www.wenxuecity.com/
http://www.youmaker.com
http://www.zengjinyan.org/
http://www5.chinesenewsnet.com/

DNS tampering only:
http://www.rsf-chinese.org/

Blocked by IP address and DNS tampering:
http://www.freetibet.org/
http://english.ntdtv.com/
http://www.secretchina.com
http://web.amnesty.org/
http://www.dajiyuan.com/

The website for the New Tang Dynasty television station (http://www.ntdtv.com/), which is affiliated with the Falungong, was blocked by IP address at the MPC and by both DNS tampering and IP blocking at a Beijing residential connection.

Blocked using a tcp reset:
http://www.mitbbs.com
http://guoweidong.blogspot.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvF822Oh75c
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BukWSNBBKdM
http://zengjinyan.spaces.live.com/
http://usolympictibetinfo.blogspot.com/
http://www.fillthesquare.org/
http://farm1.static.flickr.com
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/
http://www.tibet.ca/
http://www.libertytimes.com.tw
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/tibet/
http://zh.wikipedia.org/
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/chinese/simp/hi/default.stm

As of August 1, the status of most of the above websites was unchanged, while a handful of others had been unblocked:

RFA and its sister non-English language websites
Apple Daily (http://www.atnext.com/)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/chinese/simp/hi/default.stm
http://usolympictibetinfo.blogspot.com/
http://www.libertytimes.com.tw
http://zh.wikipedia.org/
http://web.amnesty.org/

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