Hours ago, Bitcoin Forum and Bitcoin Subreddit moderator, Theymos, posted to inform everyone that Bitcointalk.org had been blocked by the Great Firewall of China. From all over China, with the exception of Shanghai, Bitcoiners are reporting that Bitcointalk.org is now blocked. No official explanation for the block has been given, though speculation will fly.
Chinese Bitcoiners should use https://bitcointa.lk/ or research methods to bypass the Great Firewall of China.
Greatfirewallofchina.org is a website where you can query a website’s accessibility from several locations within China. As of right now, Bitcointalk is inaccessible from Beijing, Shenzen, Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang Province, Yunnan Province, and more. Chinese censorship has a long and distasteful history. Usually, the Chinese government becomes more vigilant in their internet censorship prior to sensitive dates such as June 4th (May 35th), the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. In 2010, Google decided to take a stand against Chinese censorship, even if it meant having to leave the Chinese market for good. Nowadays, Google Drive and Google Docs are blocked from within China. In contrast, Bing, which is still allowed within China, has taken flak on an international scale for directly and indirectly promoting Chinese censorship within its own search algorithms… on a global scale. More recently, a leaked notice sent from the Chinese government to Chinese media sources specifically forbade local coverage of China’s first Bitcoin conference.
Why Shanghai Bitcoin Conference Attendees Still See Bitcointalk.org
The comment with the most upvotes, by far, in response to /u/theymos’s post on the Bitcoin subreddit seems to contradict the claim that the famous Bitcoin Forum has now been explicitly blocked by the infamous Great Firewall of China. However, this is not the case.The Shanghai Bitcoin Conference currently being held at the Lake Meilan International Convention Center provided censorship-free internet service to conference attendees via a proxy.
The Chinese government decided to allow this gap in their wall “in order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone, we must think about how we can make them feel like at home.” The freedom to access politically sensitive websites from within the free trade zone is akin to other concessions to Communism that have been promulgated from time to time over recent decades. The Chinese government recognizes that the Internet plays a large role in China’s international market share in all industries. Though the government doesn’t seem to recognize its potential, China is still home to many significant Bitcoin startups, including several very large Bitcoin exchanges.
A Step Back for China
Bitcoiners in China are very accustomed to China’s attempts at internet censorship and are likely among the most privacy conscious within the large country. It isn’t too much of a stretch to say that most Bitcoin users within China already have access to alternative ways of accessing the web. Even with the undeniable resilience of existing early adopters, Bitcointalk.org’s thriving Chinese community or troves of knowledge will no longer be easily accessible to the average Chinese web user. More disconcerting is the thought that the Chinese might block additional Bitcoin-related websites.
Are you in China? Can you access Bitcointalk.org? What are your suggestions for Chinese Bitcoiners?
Editor’s Note: Shanghai does not have exemption from the Great Firewall of China.
Images from Shutterstock.
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