Why Did the Internet in China Take the Day Off on Thursday?

By Beecher Tuttle April 12, 2012

One of the most pertinent examples of the Chinese government's strong hand is its strict regulation over the Internet, disallowing citizens to visit unwanted and apparently corruptible sites like Facebook, Twitter and WordPress. So it came as little surprise when various news sites reported yesterday that the Internet in China was acting in less than a free-flowing fashion.

Around mid-day local time on Thursday, Chinese users reported being unable to access previously unbanned foreign sites like Yahoo, Microsoft and Gmail, according to China Tech News. Local sites like Sohu.com and Sina.com remained available to local users.

Meanwhile, outside of China – in countries like the U.S. and Hong Kong – users were denied access to a number of Chinese sites. As the Telegraph's Malcolm Moore noted, China spent the majority of yesterday “walled in” – at least from an Internet perspective.

With a traditionally mum government still running the country, no clear cut reason for the disruptions have been identified, although several rumors have begun to circulate. One option is the 8.5 magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Indonesia on Wednesday, possibly damaging the undersea cables that connect China to the rest of the world.

However, sources told Moore that this scenario is rather unlikely – if not impossible – because any damage to the network would have affected domestic sites as well.

Another possibility is that China was toying with its well-publicized, yet never-officially-acknowledged filtering system. “It seems that everyone's best guess is that they were upgrading the Great Firewall and something glitched during the process,” an unnamed official at one of China's Internet companies told The Telegraph. “My own theory is that they were testing the great switch to turn off the Internet.”

Yet another reason for the partial Internet outage could be an attempt by the government to cool the rumor mill surrounding ousted Chongqing city chief Bo Xilai and his wife, who has reportedly been jailed for the alleged murder of a British businessman.

More than 40 websites have been shut down and 210,000 posts have been deleted since Xilai's ousting. In addition, Reuters reported that China's three largest Internet providers have agreed to take measures to stop the spread of Internet rumors.

Whatever the reason for the strange disruption, China's Internet is now back to its former self – available yet censored.






Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

CES 2018: Terabit Fiber - Closer Than We Think

By: Doug Mohney    1/17/2018

One of the biggest challenges for 5G and last mile 10 Gig deployments is not raw data speeds, but middle mile and core networks. The wireless industry…

Read More

10 Benefits of Drone-Based Asset Inspections

By: Frank Segarra    1/15/2018

Although a new and emerging technology, (which is still evolving), in early 2018, most companies are not aware of the possible benefits they can achie…

Read More

VR Could Change Entertainment Forever

By: Special Guest    1/11/2018

VR could change everything from how we play video games to how we interact with our friends and family. VR has the power to change how we consume all …

Read More

Making Connections - The Value of Data Correlation

By: Special Guest    1/5/2018

The app economy is upon us, and businesses of all stripes are moving to address it. In this age of digital transformation, businesses rely on applicat…

Read More

3 Ways to Improve Your VR Projects

By: Ellie Martin    1/4/2018

There is no denying that VR is here and will most likely only increase in velocity as a terminal speed is yet to be even hypothesized. That is why it …

Read More