18 August, 2005

how the firewall hurts china

I live in Shanghai, China’s international financial capital. Today at the office I needed to visit the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) website, one of the leading international stock indicies.

Picture3_2Picture2_4I couldn’t access it. So I ran a test from a Shanghai-based virtual trace route site. The results are contained on the image on the left. A trace on this site, which is accessible in China, is on the right (click either image to enlarge).

For MSCI, the connection failed at the ChinaNet backbone server. This is the same result that you get when you enter the URL for banned blogs, such as RConversation, or blocked news sites, such as the BBC. Right now, I’m assuming that MSCI is blocked in Shanghai.

I can’t say whether this is a deliberate blockage or an accident, but I will say that this is a frequent event in China. Sites that ‘the party’ would likely find innocuous are often inaccessible - either due to the Great Firewall or related stresses that the filtering system puts on connectivity.

I’m in China’s financial capital and I cannot access a relatively important financial website without using a proxy.

There are people who argue that Shanghai will soon overtake Hong Kong. It may eventually do so. But it won’t be anytime soon. Censorship - of publications as well as the Internet - is part of the reason why.

Mainland China lacks the openess and transparency that a real financial center needs. So long as the CPP remains fearful of freedom, Hong Kong’s future is secure.

by @ 10:41 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Hong Kong, Asia, Coming collapse, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs

thursday links

As a Good Beer Blogger, I consider this Fantastic News (via India Uncut);

BeerTipplers can now get some kick as well as some vitamins out of a new beer, which is supposed to protect the liver from harmful effects of alcohol.
Lady Bird Bio Beer, which was launched in the Kerala markets on Wednesday, increases bio-availability of vitamins, according to its inventor B Srinivas Amarnath of Advaith Biotech Pvt Ltd.
He said the beer contained aloe vera extracts, in addition to the regular barley malt and carbondioxide hops.
"The results of human clinical trials have shown aloe vera increases the bioavailability of vitamins like B1, B6, B12, C and E," said C B Jagannatha Rao, senior vice president, Khoday Group of Industries, which has tied up with Advaith Biotech in the venture.
Years of research have also proved that with the long-term use of the beverage, there was no ulceration, gastric trouble or other harmful effects from drinking it, Amarnath claimed.

Do not sell the sexual services of your co-workers without their consent… it’s illegal.:

Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on Wednesday arrested a 36 year-old man identified as Kim for hawking the sexual services of colleagues online without their knowledge.
Police say Kim is charged with secretly taking digital photos up the skirts of three of his female colleagues at the Gangnam office of a cosmetics firm in Seoul and uploading the pictures some 30 times from an Internet cafe to an Internet auction site, where he offered to sell his coworkers as sexual partners for W150,000 (US$150).

There is some speculation that South Korea’s recent blockage of TypePad and Blogspot blogs was to prevent bloggers from offending a visiting North Korean delegation. It’s amazing how far Roh Moo-hyun’s administration will go to prevent offending Kim Jong-il’s regime:

Park Chan-sung, who chairs the Citizens Coalition to Stop the Nuclear Development of North Korea, said two-man police teams kept a tight watch on six or seven of the group’s leaders, conducted body searches and confiscated pamphlets and picket signs. He said police confined some to their homes, and on Monday police cars blocked both alley entrances to the group’s office.

The Flea ponders whether Asians are more brand conscious than Westerners, noting an item from Korea’s Chosun Ilbo.:

Japanese writer Usagi Nakamura details her devotion to labels in her book, "I Like Name Brands." She once went into a Chanel shop to buy an umbrella, but the store clerk told her not to use it when it rained a lot. He said it was OK to use the umbrella when it sort of drizzled, but he worried that it would leak in a downpour since it wasn’t waterproof. After giving it a little thought, she bought the umbrella, saying, "I’m not buying an umbrella, I’m buying Chanel."

U2 must visit Tianjin, Where the Streets have no Drains.:


During a “normal” rainfall in Tianjin the streets will fill with large puddles and only a small amount of water will actually make its way into drains. This is because road engineers don’t install gutters or otherwise apply sloping on the roads to make the water run off like it should. Instead, following each rain, work cadre groups made up of middle-aged men or middle-aged women deploy en masse with brooms to sweep the water away.

China’s floating casino is closer to becoming operational. In other military news, Andy at Siberian Light takes a good look at Russian-Chinese war games. First the charitable view:

Several humanitarian assistance operations have required robust military action in recent years, including on occasion actually landing marines on a beach (remember the fanfare as US marines stormed ashore in Somalia in the 1990s?) or potentially invading a country (a huge amount of planning was put in place for a potential invasion of Yugoslavia to protect Kosovo, for example).
And Russia and China both have on their doorsteps a number of basket-case countries that could potentially require a robust intervention.  The most obvious candidate is North Korea which, if it collapses dramatically, may require a speedy response to secure a number of key military and nuclear sites - not to mention the rapid response that would be required to prevent a humanitarian disaster if refugees attempt to flee across the Chinese and Russian borders.  It’s fair to say that, if Russia and/or China needed to launch a military mission into North Korea, it would likely involve operations by both marines and paratroopers.

Read the rest for a fuller analysis.

In India, justice can be slow. From Amit Varma 54 years and one rupee:

The first figure: how long Machang Lalung of Assam spent in prison without a trial.
The second figure: the amount of money he paid to get released.

In Indonesia justice can be non-existent:

Al Qaeda (ed: Jemaah Islamiah ) leader Abu Bakar Bashir has been given a sentence reduction. Well done.
that they don’t say that his status as guilty has changed one whit.
They are just saying he deserves less punishment for what he has been
found guilty of.

Rebecca McKinnion, one of AsiaPundit’s favourite bloggers, is back. She also notes that co-Global Voices blogger, the excellent Paul Frankenstein has finished his internship with GV. Egad! Global Voices can afford an intern? No wonder it’s always better than this blog.

Fellow Canadian and Red Ensign blogger Andrew is looking for the real China.


Picture1_4The Taipei Kid reports that love motels are moving upmarket.

by @ 9:38 pm. Filed under Culture, Food and Drink, South Korea, Blogs, China, India, Taiwan, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Weblogs, North Korea

blog-city block

Frank Dai at Global Voices has a solid roundup on the CCP’s blockage of blog-city.

Now Chinese Bloggers are facing a serious problem of where to blog, especially those who want to speak freely. More and more foreign BSPs are being blocked, such as Blogsome, Typepad and Blogspot. Almost all the BSPs in Mainland China have a rigid system of censoring “bad words” which are considered to be politically or pornographically sensitive. If hosted on independent domain server, the blogger need to register their personal information. For bloggers who want to blog freely and securely, they can resort to “Adoptablog” program.

Gordon of the now-blocked Horse’s Mouth has set up a mirror site. He has also discovered a partial work-around solution that enables text-only posting (no hyperlinks) to blog-city sites from China. Should this be a permanent block, effected bloggers should at the very least be able to use it to post URLs to mirror sites.

Bloggers who want to access the work-around can leave comments here and I’ll pass on the information to Gordon.

by @ 2:05 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Censorship

bangladesh blast update

Rezwan has further details - and many questions - on the yesterday’s bombings in Bangladesh.:

When around four hundred small bombs explode in 63 districts out of 64 districts of a country simultaneously it shows what kind of network the attackers possess (imagine 50 states out of 51 in US). The mostly hit city was the capital Dhaka with around 30 bombs explosions including key installation like the Zia International Airport, Supreme Court, Secretariat etc.
The casualties and injured numbers are so far incredibly much less (2 deaths and 150 hospitalized). The question may be why is that. The bombs were confirmed as small IEDs (Improvised explosive device) containing not much explosives. From the TV reports of the unexploded ones I have seen that each contained four batteries and some small devices and a switch attached to the bomb by red tape. Most probable the switch activated the delay device and it exploded sometime later allowing the carrier to leave it and flee away. The most remarkable thing of these bombs is that they contained wood saw dust instead of splinters. That is why there are fewer casualties although they were exploded at manned places. Actually many received minor wounds of saw dusts hitting the body with the power of explosion and went home after emergency medical attention. If these were loaded with more explosives and deadly splinters, we could have seen thousands of dead people.

Gateway Pundit has a news and blog roundup of the blasts, including a video link, and he notes a claim from authorities that there were 500 blasts.

Joe Gandelman at the Moderate Voice also has an excellent roundup, featuring an array of regional and international media sources.

Further posting at Chapati Mystery and Sepia Mutiny.

by @ 1:35 pm. Filed under Asia, South Asia, Terrorism, Bangladesh

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