Twitter & Flickr blocked ahead of Tiananmen’s 20th

32 Comments
From Simpson's Episode
From Simpson's Episode

Tweets are filling my screen with reports that Twitter.com and Flickr.com are both inaccessible in Mainland China. They join YouTube, as well as WordPress and Blogger blogs as the latest casualties in the Great Firewall of China’s war against free speech.

Undoubtedly the blocks are in an effort to curb online commentary and the dissemination of information about the , which on celebrates its 20th anniversary.

As of this writing, my Twitter client, TweetDeck, was still able to send and receive tweets — however, tweets in Beijing and Shanghai seem to indicate it was being blocked as well (blocks tend to propagate at different rates depending on your location in China).

I can only predict the next few days will see more and more sites being blocked, hopefully with things returning to normal shortly after (though if past blocks are anything to go by, it could be weeks or months).

If you don’t have a good VPN, be sure to check out Hotspot Shield (free, but slow), or personalVPN/Witopia (minimal yearly fee, but fast). A VPN creates a secure tunnel that will allow you to view the Internet as if you were in the country the VPN is hosted in (US, UK, etc.). I have used services such as Tor in the past, but couldn’t stand the slow speed. I bit the bullet and signed up with WiTopia about a year ago and couldn’t be happier. I have no experience with Hotspot Shield, but have heard it is decent in a pinch.

Also, if you care to watch what is getting blocked where in real-time, check out HerdictWeb – and for Twitter blocks in China in particular see here.

If you know of other solutions, please post them below.

Talk on Twitter & Flickr blocked ahead of Tiananmen’s 20th


32 Comments
  1. Holly shit~!

    how to generate a censorship words image like this post?
    dose it generates by script or others?

  2. Yep, this was inevitable, what with nothing whatsoever having happened in Beijing two decades ago this month.

    Hopefully the Western press will pick this up quickly; they probably will, because they already love any China story, or any twitter story, so put the two things together and it’ll be on the front page of tomorrow’s New York Times. Which will also get blocked this week. Inevitably.

    In other news, my gf has no idea whatsoever what happened 20 years ago this week.

  3. Pingback: The Great Firewall Blocks Flickr, Twitter, Among Other Sites | quelquefois

  4. Profile photo of

    @Steen: It’s a WordPress plugin I created ages ago. A little rusty, but still works – check it out here: Censortive.

    @Steven: What I think is most interesting is that Twitter has a huge Chinese userbase that just suddenly went “WTF? Why can’t I get on Twitter…” and suddenly they’re asking questions about the significance of these dates.

  5. How feasible/difficult would it be to create a sort of “shadow” API for twitter that can run on any web server as a PHP script. All it needs is to pass requests back and forth between a user in china and twitter.com, right? (maybe bonus points for encrypting info between it and the user)

    If it’s PHP (or anything else that can run on a shared host) then anyone in China can rent a cheap server somewhere and use it to bypass the great firewall at will.

    It will also probably be impossible for the Chinese authorities to stop such a decentralised approach.

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  7. I use Hotspot Shield, and it is not too slow. The big draw back though are the ads which permeate the program. There are often ads that come at the top of the navigator, and occasionally it redirects you to a sponsored site. Certainly not the ideal way to be hooked into the internet, but at least I can watch my YouTube and tweet away :)

  8. What you say is true, I’m in Wuhan,Hubei.
    I have tried to login twitter by PC via adsl of china telecom and by tweetie of my iPhone via wap, but it all failed.
    Now, I was using some online proxy to log in.
    Luckily, the friendfeed is still alive. :)

  9. So glad I don’t have to deal with this anymore (moved out of China). I just have to cope with the loss of traffic to my sites. I’ll consider moving back to China if/when this blows over.

  10. Pingback: China Blocks Everything Ahead of Tiananmen Anniversary - News: Everything-e

  11. @Dismory (and all): Be careful when using any Web-based proxies. These are not secure, and passing sensitive information through them (ie. by logging into e-mail/Twitter/etc.) can expose your password to malicious people.

  12. Getting away from the censorship and into a free society when I leave China in a few weeks has me pretty excited. Life is too short to spend anymore of it in China.

  13. This may be a solution. It’s a flash-based screen that picks up tweets & flickr images using ‘tiananmen’ and ‘june 4′ as keywords. Will allow people in China to see that the rest of the world is livid and we’re tweeting non-stop.

    http://tinyurl.com/Wiffiti

    the issue’s a trending topic!!

  14. I’ve been using a service called GoTrusted for about a month (it costs something like $6/month after a short free trial). It works well and is pretty fast, although I’m always afraid these proxy services can somehow steal your passwords and the like.

  15. Pingback: Il y a vingt ans, à Tien’anmen | Mind Overflow

  16. Thank you! I installed Hotspot Shield and went directly to Flickr where it is working fast. I am overjoyed. It did disconnect after about half and hour, but a couple of clicks and it took me right back. HUGE service you are doing to share this.

  17. we don’t let us say what to do what we have not to do!

    get rid of this!

    you have to go on the vidalia.org side (sometimes even you will not be able to reach this side, then see below!), download the whole latest package incl. TOR.
    tor is a small always running program (u should have the firefox brower to install after the TORBUTTON ad ones, which allows you to acivate with a button whenever you need the program) which is denying any proxys.
    if you can not reach the vidalia.org side from china google it!
    you will find a lot of other sides where you can download the free program too.

    problem: it takes more time to reach the side, because the organisation needs just more user. more user means more faster connection.

    the good thing: you will be able to reach every side!

  18. Pingback: China’s Great Firewall Blocks Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, Live, Bing | CNReviews

  19. Man, im currently doing a research project about this topic.

    What is your opinion about this whole thing?
    Do you think the censorship is justified enough?
    What do you think is the position of the government?

    thx in advance

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  21. Pingback: La Chine censure Twitter, Flickr, Blogger, Hotmail, Bing… | ReadWriteWeb France

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