New China net-censorship study: up to 10% of web may be blocked by authorities

A new study of Internet censorship in China by Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society reveals that as many as one out of every ten websites may be blocked by the Chinese government. Read the Yahoo! News story here, and read the report itself here.


Having requested some 204,012 distinct web sites, we found more than 50,000 to be inaccessible from at least one point in China on at least one occasion. Adopting a more conservative standard for determining which inaccessible sites were intentionally blocked and which were unreachable solely due to temporary glitches, we find that 18,931 sites were inaccessible from at least two distinct proxy servers within China on at least two distinct days. We conclude that China does indeed block a range of web content beyond that which is sexually explicit. For example, we found blocking of thousands of sites offering information about news, health, education, and entertainment, as well as some 3,284 sites from Taiwan. A look at the list beyond sexually explicit content yields insight into the particular areas the Chinese government appears to find most sensitive.