The Great Firewall is the unofficial name of the system censoring the internet in China. It’s famous for blocking access to some of the world’s most widely used websites, such as Facebook and Twitter. The full extent of the censorship is much larger, constantly changing and not fully known. To bring transparency to this censorship, we launched GreatFirewall.biz in February 2011.
We offer a tool which checks whether a given website or Google search is blocked in China. All URLs added to our system are continuously monitored to detect changes. With manual contributions from our visitors as well as through our collaboration with Autoproxy.org, we believe we have created the most complete database of websites and searches blocked in China.
As stated on our homepage, we are currently tracking some 2500 URLs as blocked in China. We also monitor download speeds and have labeled an additional 700+ URLs as suspiciously slow. This was a major issue earlier this year when Gmail was made so slow that it was almost unusable. While the government claimed to have nothing to do with it, our data suggested otherwise and was widely quoted (http://goo.gl/0aXF5).
Based on the data we collect, we blog and tweet about important changes in what is being blocked; we offer a widget that can be embedded on any blog or website to show whether it’s blocked in China, and we offer all our data for free to download. Our mission is to spread awareness of the extent of the online censorship in China, believing that awareness is an important step towards a free Internet.
We are a small team working from inside China. Because of the political situation here, we must remain anonymous. This makes it difficult for us to raise funds for the project. We are currently looking to build a partnership with an organization outside China willing to represent us for fundraising purposes. If you or anyone you know would be willing to help us, please contact us (http://goo.gl/D4IbY). There are other ways you can help us too:
- Add URLs you suspect could be blocked (http://goo.gl/oIj6A).
- Embed our widget on your website or blog showing whether it’s blocked in China (http://goo.gl/Cz0ka).
- Republish our data or use in your project (http://goo.gl/A6xr9). GreatFirewall.biz is itself blocked in China. If 100 other websites republish the data, it becomes much more difficult for the government to control.
- Follow us on Twitter and retweet (@Great__Firewall).
- Help us improve our Search Engine Optmization (http://goo.gl/ruQPZ).
- Generally help us spread awareness of online censorship in China.
Thank you for contributing to a free internet in China.