Rachel Lu

Facebook, Youtube and Twitter Temporarily Unblocked in China

Is it another sign of a great censorship thaw? A technical glitch in China’s Great Firewall? A brilliant hacker? Or as @R小寧 of Shanghai speculates on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, “another hook” to catch would-be Firewall-crossers in the act? 

For a few hours on February 27, many netizens across China reported that Facebook, Twitter and Youtube were accessible, five days after Google+ became accessible and Chinese netizens started the “Occupy Obama” movement. @沐心斋主人 from Kaifeng, Henan province tweets, “Was just about to scale the Great Firewall; and the wall disappeared…”

Netizens who were able to access these sites tweeted with exuberance. To @人体摄影师柔软 of Beijing, it was the “sun coming out at night.” @飞扬Monica of Beijing used twelves “Ahs” in response to the news and tweeted “Feels great!!!”  @寻找上大人 from Shanghai wrote, “Can log on to Facebook,  Twitter and Youtube. I can’t imagine what’s to follow!” @黛西妖 of Beijing added, “It is not my hallucination. Facebook can now be accessed without scaling the wall.” @射手座Isabel of Xi’an, Shaanxi province exulted, “Getting on Facebook on the cell phone and watching Youtube. Is this still China??? Amazing!!!” 

 Access was not universal. Users of CERNET, a computer network of China’s elite educational institutions, reported more success. Tsinghua University’s Weibo Association (@清华大学微博协会 ) tweeted, “Just tried it. Youtube and Facebook are freely accessible. Still can’t open Twitter,” but others complained that access was still blocked. By 9pm on February 27, the lights seemed to dim once more. @adoal from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province lamented, “Was OK before; now it’s been reset.” 

At least one netizen does not see greener grass outside the Great Firewall. @Lazy_afternoon of Shanghai exclaimed, “Facebook unblocked. I registered for it. The homepage is quite ugly!!” Do you hear that, Mr. Zuckerberg?

 [Editor's note: the Weibo user accounts cited in this article have not been verified, but their stated locations are given to provide the reader a sense of the geographical scope of this chatter.]


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Rachel Lu

Rachel Lu is a co-founder of Tea Leaf Nation. Rachel traces her ancestry to Southern China. She spent much of her childhood memorizing Chinese poetry. After long stints in New York, New Haven and Cambridge, she has returned to China to bear witness to its great transformation. She is currently based in China.