Internet Guide for Chinese Studies Newsletter
29 Sep 2004, by Hanno E. Lecher

New in IGCS - Internet (

Empirical Analysis of Internet Filtering in China

Ed./Corp.: Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman, Berkman Center for
Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, USA (March 2003).
Language: English.

Self description: The authors are collecting data on the methods, scope, and
depth of selective barriers to Internet access through Chinese networks.
Tests from May 2002 through November 2002 indicate at least four distinct
and independently operable methods of Internet filtering, with a
documentable leap in filtering sophistication beginning in September 2002.
The authors document thousands of sites rendered inaccessible using the most
common and longstanding filtering practice. These sites were found through
connections to the Internet by telephone dial-up link and through proxy
servers in China. Once so connected, the authors attempted to access
approximately two hundred thousand web sites. The authors tracked 19,032 web
sites that were inaccessible from China on multiple occasions while
remaining accessible from the United States. Such sites contained
information about news, politics, health, commerce, and entertainment. [...]
The authors conclude (1) that the Chinese government maintains an active
interest in preventing users from viewing certain web content, both sexually
explicit and non-sexually explicit; (2) that it has managed to configure
overlapping nationwide systems to effectively -- if at times irregularly --
block such content from users who do not regularly seek to circumvent such
blocking; and (3) that such blocking systems are becoming more refined even
as they are likely more labor- and technology-intensive to maintain than
cruder predecessors.

Description: Concise yet excellent research paper!

Contents: (1) Overview; (2) Methodology; (3) Analysis & Summary
Statistics; (4) Conclusions; (5) Technical Appendix; (6) Specific Blocked
Sites; (7)Highlights; (8) Analysis by Google Keyword; (9) Related Projects
(Real-Time Testing of Internet Filtering in China; Replacement of Google
with Alternative Search Systems in China; Documentation of Internet
Filtering in Saudi Arabia; Web Sites Sharing IP Addresses: Prevalence and
Significance; Documentation of Internet Filtering Worldwide; Other Resources
on Internet Filtering in China).

Resource suggested by Michel Hockx, Centre of Chinese Studies, SOAS, London,


With kind regards,

Hanno E. Lecher



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