China's cyberwar: Would it be all that surprising?

China's cyberwar: Would it be all that surprising?

Summary: Reports are trickling in that China is blocking Google, Yahoo and Microsoft searches and redirecting them to Baidu. Welcome to the land where a firewall is an economic weapon.


Reports are trickling in that China is blocking Google, Yahoo and Microsoft searches and redirecting them to Baidu. Welcome to the land where a firewall is an economic weapon.

TechCrunch has been reporting that Google searches are redirected to Baidu. Adding in other reports, Duncan Riley concludes we're in a cyberwar. Digital Marketing Blog finds Yahoo is also rerouted too. We have no way to confirm this rerouting without any feet on the street in China at the moment. David Feng writes that the TechCrunch take doesn't hold up.

But if these reports pan out it shows free speech stops at the border--and it's quite a technological feat that China can even enforce its Net border. Whether this rerouting is due to the Dalai Lama visit with President Bush or some other incident is irrelevant. The big question: Does this surprise anyone?

China is a country that censors heavily, removes blog posts at will, throws journalists in jail and cracks down on dissent in a heartbeat. And it's only going to get worse as China puts on its happy face in front of the Olympics next year.

In that context what's a little traffic rerouting?

Yet, the Googles, Microsofts and Yahoos of the world play ball by China's rule. And sometimes the traffic ball bounces in the wrong direction. Makes you wonder what happens if Google gains more market share in China doesn't it?

Topics: Networking, Browser, Google, China

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  • Why blog about it?

    Who cares? As long as Americans continue to be in love with the "sell for less" concept that essentially equals buying products made in China because you can save a couple bucks, they are in no position to complain about what China does or doesn't do.

    If you fundamentally dislike Chinese politics and lack or democracy, when you'd better not be buying anything Chinese. Otherwise, I don't really care if they can get to google or not.
    • Well said

    • The alternate viewpoint

      is that economic prosperity and freedom go hand in hand and that making China dependent on U.S. trade forces China to be friendly to the United States out of self-interest, and that the rising standard of living and prosperity enjoyed by China as a result of capitalism puts pressure on China to open up politically as well.

      It's a theory that should not be rejected out of hand. We have a total blockade on Cuba and have had for 50 years. Cuba is still brutally Communist.

      So, obviously simply stopping trade with a country does not free the people of that country.

      Perhaps a little more rational thought on the matter instead of the typical knee-jerk "it's America's fault" would serve you better.
      • I feel you underestimate...

        Chinese communism. Unlike Russian communists, China would rather see their people go hungry than succumb to capitalism.

        They need absolutely nothing from us. They will take what they can until it is no longer advantageous and then go back to their isolationism they have been practicing since before China was a communist state.
        • Too late.

          LOL, If I'm not mistaken they have already succumbed to capitalism, look at Hong Kong. From what I hear, the government is also letting up on restrictions for businesses, and they are allowing their people to purchase stock. Maybe your thinking of North Korea.
      • Propaganda

        Yes the theory does go that free trade will change the world. Except it has to be trade among equals both in standard of living and in core values.

        The only way trade will change core values between unequal partners is that the local population either feels exploited and turns against those responsible for the economic relationship, or alternately some locals become so intoxicated at the thought of accumulating wealth that trade creates economic disparity in the trading partner and causes political instability.

        Pick any African country and it will either fall into the former or latter category.

        A country has to build itself up for self-empowerment. Develop a strong internal economy to serve the internal needs, and then carefully sell internationally with surplusses they may have. That is totally contrary to "you need so and so mega corporation to mine that ore otherwise you won't get access to international markets".

        Things are a lot more complicated than using labels like "knee jerk".
    • More complicated than you think

      It's not quite that simple:

      -Not all products list the nation they are created in. In fact, as I look at the stuff I've got, it appears the vast majority of products simply don't have any indication of what country (or countries) are involved in the creation of the product.

      -Many products are not made in a single country: They're assembled from parts all over the world. This may or may not include China. Even if the product is assembled in the USA, it may contain pieces from China.

      -Many people simply can't afford to be choosy about where their stuff comes from. They simply don't have the income to always buy higher priced products.

      Oh, I wish things were as simple as you make it. Unfortunately, they're not.
      • Avoiding made in China goods a good idea any way you look at it.

        Forget for a moment the politics of the issue. From a pure value perspective, I've found I'm better off avoiding products made in China wherever possible. This is very different than insisting on products made in the USA. I'm very happy to find alternatives made in Taiwan, Malaysia, etc. I'm especially happy to start finding products made in Japan again. I can't always find an alternative to a made in China product at a reasonable price, but when I do I'm happy to avoid the quality headache that "Made in China" tends to foretell. Ask anyone who is involved in manufacturing/quality. You only choose China when low cost is the overriding factor, and are willing to take a big hit in quality.
      • I disagree, but especially on this point

        "-Many people simply can't afford to be choosy about where their stuff comes from. They simply don't have the income to always buy higher priced products."

        Most people CHOOSE to buy these products, by shopping at the companies who bring you "low prices". There are Mercedes Benz's in the Walmart parking lot sometimes. THEY SHOULD NOT BE THERE. Buying these products is welfare shopping, it lowers workers income, it abuses our dollar, it encourages more businesses to create the same situation. Someone with cash will still go and buy the cheapest low quality crap they can and send our money off to to other countries.....this is greed at it's worst. You know why the prices are low? Because the store was built with your tax money, the employee health care is covered by your taxes, and the goods are shipped from some disgusting communist country. Noone cares until we are in ruin. Spend the extra 50 cents on a better product when you can.
      • Boycotting Chines products

        Some things simply cannot be found, on any easily accessible market, that is not Chinese made. I bought a set of files at Lowe's yesterday. I had a choice of Chinese or USA made. Of course the US product had only 3 files instead of 5 and cost $4 more, so I bit the bullet. Got home and discovered the files WERE American made, but the stoage bag they came in is from, you guessed it, China!
        My choices are US made, then anywhere BUT China if possible.
        Apple juice is 80% from China, but they do not mark the labels!
        The leading supplier of farm raised catfish is China.
        We are handing them control of our economy to save a few bucks when we got to the store. One day they'll invade Taiwan or some other act we deplore, and the response will be "We just dumped 2 trillion dollars on the world market, you no longer have the power to stop us!" Just think, Walmart and Mattell and their ilk are bringing about the fall of the American Empire. Of course, we're going blindly along with it, saying "See how cheap I got this!".
    • check this out

      ya.. cnn had some financial analyst, actually say on live tv.. that lead in products is good, and that if Americans keep whining about a little lead... we could put in jeopardy all those cheap walmart products.

      this is the attitude of the elite.

      profits are all that matters, the bottom line.
    • Hard to get individuals to be that consciencious about it

      Better to just get a majority of voters to approve a conditional trade embargo. That way, we have a filter to stop the money flow without everyone constantly having to remember to check if it is "Made in China."
  • This is more of a censorship measure, I'm sure.

    But if protectionism is really the goal and it's as bad as free trade evangelists say it is, they're hurting themselves primarily.

    In reality, I see this as merely another attempt to control what Chinese citizens read and think. The irony is that if the Communist regime continues to allow people to go abroad for extended periods (and then go home), it won't matter in the long run because a substantial number of Chinese citizens will have been "subverted" by other means.
    John L. Ries
    • It might work pretty well.

      [i]The irony is that if the Communist regime continues to allow people to go abroad for extended periods (and then go home), it won't matter in the long run because a substantial number of Chinese citizens will have been "subverted" by other means.[/i]

      This is an interesting point. I'm no expert on China but I tend to think they will be more effective in this strategy (in the short run at least) than you give them credit for. First, I'm pretty sure the majority of the people wealthy enough and able to get papers to travel abroad are party members. With all the talk about rampant capitalism, China really still is a fractured society with a very small percentage taking part in the recent prosperity. At least 70% of the population was still at the subsistence agriculture level last I saw figures on it. The point being that the folks who [i]can[/i] travel have a stake in a system that protects their interests at the expense of the vast majority. They have a lot to loose by rocking the boat. Also, those returning from abroad may find it very difficult to have an impact on even their fellow elites. If you've every tried to describe the third world to a person who's never been there, you know there are some things you just have to see and experience to understand. I'm sure this works both ways.
      • Good point

        Though it might still be risky to allow impressionable high school and college students to study abroad, or to allow college professors to teach abroad. Rather good way to expose people to all manner of "rotten liberals", as Lenin used to call them (or is that "us"?).

        Abraham Lincoln once said that a country cannot endure half-slave and half-free; that it will eventually go all one way or the other. Seems to me that the Communist regime in China is out to prove him wrong, but I don't think they'll succeed.
        John L. Ries
  • RE: China's cyberwar: Is it all that surprising?

    and what's gonna happen next year during the Olympics when all those Western journalists arrive with their wireless laptops?

    how will their online searching be affected?
    • theyll just set up a proxy for them

      and well monitored (ethereal) etc...
  • Its all about the benjamins

    not about tracking a few cyber-dissidents
  • Signal < noise

    Diagram of story:

    1. Rumor
    2. Link to report that says rumor may not be true
    3. Blah blah blah
  • It works both ways.

    Due to the ridiculous amount of botnets, hax0r$ and spammers, we blocked at our edge routers all traffic to/from the entire Chinese and North Korean IP space.

    We will continue to do so until governments and network admins in that region "grow up" and start doing things differently.