Is My Site Visible In China? Strange Request Day

Update: 2:30 PM PST. The database was corrupted most of the day. I believe I have isolated the problem (I hope). All comments made today were lost. I apologize for this. Please re-submit.

Busy day today, so a small request. My secret project, for which I promise an announcement soon, is taking up much of my time.

When my number one son lived in Shanghai (some two years ago) he told me that he could not access my site. Is that still the case?

Google analytics indicates that I have a couple of hits a month from Beijing, but I am not sure these are accurate. Google, like many other companies anxious to do business with China, has labeled Taiwan as part of China. So I cannot be sure the hits registering as Beijing are not actually coming from Taiwan—where I have a steady supply of readers.

The hits—six last month—from Beijing might be real, too, but not from civilian Chinese. And it could also be that Google errs in its counts, particularly of small numbers.

Of course, if this site is not visible in China, I cannot expect to learn that from people who live there, since, of course, they will not see my request. And if nobody living there responds, it is still more than possible (given the English-only content of this site) that nobody in China wants to come. So this is a difficult thing to measure.

I ask because we have read often that China bans sites that are in any way critical of the government. I have been, in any way, critical, but I am also just one lone voice in the wilderness. Knowledge of whether this site is banned will give some information to the lengths the government of China is willing to go to restrict information.

Incidentally, I have no hits from North Korea. Not even one the whole year—at least, as far as Google Analytics can determine. I believe we also looked at this two years ago and found the same thing. The joys of socialism are ever lasting.

Iran has picked up: six whole hits last month. Afghanistan is always there—but here I know that a substantial portion of these hits are from servicemen since a few have emailed me.

The only other blanks for this year are Central Africa: DR (those terms used loosely) Congo, Chad, Niger, Somalia, etc. None from Nicaragua. Nary a Nepalese visitor. Total of zero from Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. And a complete paucity of Papua New Guineaians. Well, none from Greenland, either, but that land mass is in a different category than the others.

Google says that well over a thousand hits are unclassified. Some of these are probably bots or spam makers. But some could be from the countries registering zeros.

It’s not relevant, but most of the search-directed traffic comes here with my name as key word (I’m famous!). But will one of the 198 people who searched for “porn rape”—I get a regular stream of these—and who landed here tell me why you thought a statistician would have what you’re looking for? And can Google say why they direct them here? (Of course, and depressingly, my asking will cause an increase.)

And Luis, you’ll be delighted to learn that 58 people searched for “luis diaz relativism.”

Update From an anonymous source:

Sites that can’t load at all, fully blocked The Last Emperor Page (any flash)

Sites that can download, appears free, but no photos or flash at all (no youtube as it is fully blocked)

Sites that appear to work normally (content not obviously blocked)

HOME no flash, pics ok


  1. Have no idea about China, but dug into my own site’s stats and found one from Seychelles. Seychelles? What? Didn’t know I had grandkids there. Had to look it up, even.

    But to give the devil his due – no offense intended – almost 60% of my hits this week came from viewers of wmbriggs, whoever he is.

  2. Bruce Foutch

    My niece from Shanghai is staying with us and asked her friends in China to try connecting to your site. Beijing friend says no problem, can open easily. Will have friends and family from Shanghai try later this afternoon.

  3. DAV

    I had a problem some time ago at my site with attempted ssh cracks from China and Korea. The ssh port is only for me so I set the firewall to black-hole SYN packets from most APNIC IPs (among other steps). A bit drastic but simple to do. They could be trying to view my http stuff but I’ll never know.

    The thing about the Chinese government looking into you is paranoia (or perhaps a swelled head). I don’t recall too many posts of yours critical of the Chinese government.. The only possible exception being the Aug 15th post. It maybe pops up on searches including the term “China”? Also, it could be you are being hit with a web crawler.

  4. Bruce Foutch

    Mr. Briggs,

    Shanghai just reported they can easily open your blog website. Hope this info helps.


  5. My site has recent hits from China, but maybe they’re watching me very closely . . .

  6. Luis Dias

    They seem to get my name wrong every single time!

    That search query is very curious though, must be somewhat old. Funny thing is if they got the name right, they could have learned one thing or two (very little) about relativism, etc., and my opinions about it in other forums. Sometimes, google is scary.

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