Wednesday, January 13, 2010

China: A New Approach To Tibetan Language Blogsites?

Internet censorship in China is currently dominating the news due to Google's announcement yesterday that they might withdraw their PRC operations following serious hacking and attacks on the GMails of dissidents. Read the full statement "A new approach to China" here.

It remains to be seen how much longer Google and Google.Cn will be accessible in China and Tibet for. Several hours ago, a Twitter user in Lhasa posted this:



It is unclear from this Tweet, however, whether the Google search results are filtered or not. At the same time that the Chinese internet may seem more free today than yesterday (for now), High Peaks Pure Earth has been monitoring the state of Tibetan-language blog hosting sites that have been inaccessible for the last two weeks.

It is fairly common for Tibetan blogsites to be rendered inaccessible, if only for a short period of time, at particular times of the year. High Peaks Pure Earth monitored such "technical issues" last year, for example in March 2009 in these blogposts All Quiet on the Tibetan Blog Front and The Disappearing Tibetan Cyberspace. In August 2009, Global Voices reported on Tibetan blogsites being down in the report Are Tibetan Bloggers Being Silenced?

The four popular Tibetan language blogsites that cannot be accessed at the moment are:





The error message for Tibet123 in Chinese reads: 您未被授权查看该页 - You are not authorised to view this page.

However, the most alarming page belongs to TibetTL that is reported as an attack site:



When clicking for more information, Google shares this advisory:


High Peaks Pure Earth has even had problems linking to the TibetTL page on our Twitter as it was identified immediately as malware:


All of the above blogsites contain Tibetan language articles and posts previously translated into English by High Peaks Pure Earth. The Tibetan cyberspace continues to disappear... check back here on High Peaks Pure Earth for updates.

Update #1, January 20, 2010: Blogsites http://www.cmbod.cn/index.html and http://www.tibet123.com/bbs/ are back online. http://www.tibettl.com is still down.

4 comments:

Ben said...

Surely Google has sounded the death knell for the worst excesses of Chinese censorship. Granted, Tibet is such a sensitive issue for the paranoid maniacs in Beijing that relaxations in Tibet are probably going to take longer to come about/ be wrested from paramaniacs' cold, dead hands. But they will come.

Sephora said...

not to worry , pretty soon we are going to have the same sencorship in the united states, We can call it Obamaland.

Anonymous said...

The English language version of the state owned Hydrochina Zhongnan Engineering Corporation's website is also being used to attack visitors computer's. Google says:

'What happened when Google visited this site?
Of the 93 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 32 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2010-01-15, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2010-01-12.
Malicious software includes 46 exploit(s).'

I suppose Google's protection of its users is one of the reasons it is in conflict with the Chinese government.

R said...

The reason TibetTL is being shown as a malicious site is that the page contains code to download malware onto your computer if you're using a vulnerable browser (mostly Internet Explorer, especially older versions of it). The interesting question is HOW that code got there. Is it just a random virus infection on one of the site maintainers' computers that injected the malicious code into their html? Or did someone specifically hack the TibetTL server or one of the site maintainers' computers to insert the malicious code, in hopes of getting spyware onto Tibetans' computers?