Wikipedia: Partial Availability in China

As of today the Chinese Version of the Wikipedia is becoming more accessible, but is still not widely available (see my previous post). This information comes from Andrew Lih, a blogger, academic and wikipedian. He has coordinated with other Chinese blogger and wikipedians throughout PRC to track Wikipedia’s availability.
chart of wikipedia availability in PRC

This type of partial blocking is not surprising given what is known about the Great FireWall (GFW). As Andrew says in another post:

The “GFW system” depends on a distributed system of checks and filters that depends on the particular ISP, the type of connection being used, and the geographic locale. A commercial connection in Hubei is different than a residential DSL in Guangdong is different than an academic network in Shantou. Something blocked in one area of the country may be totally fine in another. A keyword that is filtered in one place could be allowed in another.

So for folks in China’s tech circles, it’s pretty frustrating seeing blanket “China blocks” or “China unblocks” declaration without specifics or accurate reports.

Filtering also happens on different levels between the domestic network and the greater Internet, so even though Wikipedia is generally accessible in English, it’s still subject to:

* URL-level filtering – host header or keyword in URL rejected
* Text-stream level filtering – offending keyword in Web page

Watch his excellent blog for more information as things unfold in China.