The Chinese government has blocked access to Google.com, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Analytics, Google Drive, and many other Google services as the Communist Party of China holds the 18th Party Congress, which started Thursday morning. Google has confirmed the block with The Next Web, and a Google spokesperson offered the following statement: “We’ve checked and there’s nothing wrong on our end.”
This latest censorship is part of a long dispute between Google and the Chinese government that has been going on for years. The blocking was first reported by Chinese web monitoring site GreatFire, which summarized its findings like so:
- The subdomains http://www.google.com, mail.google.com, google-analytics.com, docs.google.com, drive.google.com, maps.google.com, play.google.com and perhaps many more are all currently DNS poisoned in China. Instead of the real IP addresses, any lookups from China to any of these domains result in the following IP: 188.8.131.52. That IP address is located in Korea and doesn’t serve any website at all.
- This means that none of these websites, including Google Search, currently work in China, unless you have a VPN or other circumvention tool.
- Using a DNS server outside of China doesn’t help. A lookup of http://www.google.com to 184.108.40.206 is also distorted, by the Great Firewall.
- So far you can still access other country versions of Google such as http://www.google.co.uk.
While the subdomains play.google.com and plus.google.com aren’t specifically mentioned, it seems that the Google Play Store and Google+, as well as pretty much any other service hosted on Google.com, are also being blocked. We tested the google.com domain, as well as many subdomains ourselves on GreatFirewallChina.org, and it doesn’t look good:
This is huge, as GreatFire sums up:
Never before have so many people been affected by a decision to block a website. If Google stays blocked, many more people in China will become aware of the extent of censorship.
When I contacted Google, the company pointed us to its Transparency report, which measures traffic to its sites around the world. Here’s the state of affairs for China:
It’s currently unclear if this move is temporary or not. China could unblock Google.com again once the congress is over, but at the very least, this means we can expect the service to be blocked on a regular basis, if not permanently.