Breach in China’s Great Firewall allows taste of Western sites


For China’s Internet users, freedom means using Facebook.

This week some Chinese Internet users experienced their first taste of freedom.

And how did they use it? To log on to Facebook, of course.

Thanks to a mysterious glitch in the Chinese government’s national firewall, citizens were able to access social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter on Monday and Tuesday.

“I used Facebook for the first time yesterday,” Zhang Wenjin told Reuters. “I went on and took a look. I’m sure there were suddenly a lot of people who signed up on Facebook yesterday.”

Under the government’s strict censorship laws, these social networking sites are normally blocked, leaving citizens to use locally run sites like Sina Weibo, Tencent’s QQ,  and Renren.

The glitch also allowed Internet users to access Google+, where they left hundreds of comments on President Barack Obama’s page urging him to help with China’s civil-rights issues.

The crack in China’s Great Firewall seems to have been fixed, as access to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter was blocked again by Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Photo by Mr. Fink’s Finest Photos

Fernando Alfonso III

Fernando Alfonso III

Fernando Alfonso III served as an early Reddit and 4chan reporter and the Daily Dot’s first art director until 2016. He’s gone on to report at Lexington’s Herald-Leader and at the Houston Chronicle.