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Microsoft confirms Bing is down in China (techcrunch.com)
163 points by obahareth 54 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 76 comments

This actually surprises me for how much effort Microsoft puts into being compliant with China. Last year China took down Yahoo! too, despite Yahoo's relationship with Alibaba.

I was an expat last year and with Google (& DuckDuckGo) blocked I already had pretty few options of search engine. Short of learning enough Chinese to manage Baidu, I can't imagine how hard it would be to use internet as a foreigner in China now.

I showed a google map to a police officer (border control on the highway) to show where I was going, no problem. Had setup a few VPN on my iphone before going to have options in case one or two got flagged. My uni VPN worked during my entire stay.

https://maps.google.cn is actually working in mainland China, which I found surprisingly last month.

good to know! Now I understand better why they had all the transit info for beijing loaded into google map ;)

> Last year China took down Yahoo! too, despite Yahoo's relationship with Alibaba.

I mean, by last year that relationship stopped existing (as Yahoo!'s Ali shares would be with Altaba).

I've seen business travelers carrying two smartphones: one for the Chinese Internet, and the other one for going around the firewall.

How do they go around it with the second?

Edit: ardy42 answered this below. Foreign phones from home country provider seem to be exempt.

My AT&T iPhone wasn’t blocked when roaming in China, it seems they make exceptions for foreign phones. They’re censors are very clever at knowing where the limits are.

Coz your roaming data are literally in an AT&T VPN all the way back to America.

is it possible to use a VPN in the PR of China?

I don't know, but if you bring in a foreign phone to China with international data roaming, you can still access the uncensored internet with it. The data appears to be routed separately over the phone network, and it appears to exit from your carrier in your home country.

I've heard this is a temporary thing to make it easier for visitors, and it will stop working if you stay too long.

> I've heard this is a temporary thing to make it easier for visitors, and it will stop working if you stay too long.

It is, but my understanding is that's because roaming is expensive for your home carrier, so they'll cancel your account due to unprofitability if you spend too much time roaming with it.

See the fine print in this T-Mobile document:


> Not for extended international use; you must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur on our U.S. network. Device must register on our U.S. network before international use.

> ...

> Network Management: Service may be slowed, suspended, terminated, or restricted for misuse, abnormal use, interference with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users, or significant roaming.

They've got firewall (from US company Palo Alto Networks, btw), to block GTP traffic over GRX (which is used for roamers) based on their rules.

And unrestricted access is already unavailable in Tibet and Xinjiang.

I’d also love to have more details on this. I currently use Google Fi on my phone and laptop when in China, that’s the only way I’m able to be productive. If there are limitations on this or it’s a short term solution, that will affect my future plans in China. So any links or more details would be appreciated!

Do you have a cite for that? I'd like to read more.

Myself and all my friends paid for ExpressVPN. Much easier to get working if you have it installed before you go there, but not impossible

There's several well-known ones that work, and additional projects like Streisand[1] which exist to allow a roll-your-own solution. In all cases, VPNs that work are ones that obfuscate that they're VPNs via varying methods.

Otherwise, as others have said, mobile roaming data is functionally identical in that the data appears to the internet as having come from your home country. Hong Kong offer a few plans that are (relatively) affordable and roam into the mainland.

[1]: https://github.com/StreisandEffect/streisand

It's tricky. But doable. I know because I have done it on all three of my trips there.

I've been there for a while (2 years straight and more than 6 years since my first trip), I used many different VPNs providers and even setup my own servers.

Although the company is a bit shady and I'm pretty sure they have some connection with the party, Astrill is the best to use in terms of performance, bandwidth and ease of use. They recently added WireGuard support which is blazing fast.

However, if your priority is privacy, probably you should use your own server, or just stay out of China.

I'm curious what challenges you faced. I went once (a little over 3 years ago) and used a vpn fairly frequently (on and off as needed.) I think I even found and signed up for one while completely behind the great firewall.

Now, of course, I'd recommend setting it all up before going, but I've heard that it's still relatively commonplace for Westerners and PRC mostly turns a blind eye.

Every 2nd English language page, visited from China, will be full of ads for expressVPN.

Also what about ssh?

It works quite well, but you need a host that isn’t blocked, and they tend to block AWS IPs, so you have to change the IP every now and then. For browsing SwitchyOmega works well with ssh.

Virtually anyone in China, even the Chinese people, just use a VPN or SSH, or both, and your internet is ok.

Are you sure about the SSH part?

I have few VPS's outside of China, and when I trying to SSH them directly from China, the connection would only alive for few minutes before gone slow (20 seconds delay), and eventually went dark (All packet dropped).

So I wrote my own proxy. It supports port mapping so I can map my local:2211 to server:21. When I connect to local:2211, the proxy will first connect to proxy-server (located outside of China) to establish an encrypted data stream, and then the proxy-server connects server:21.

This way I can keep the SSH connection alive as long as I wish to.

If you are using tools like Shadowsocks, you can use `ssh -o ProxyCommand ...` to ask ssh to go through Shadowsocks (Socks5 proxy).

when I was in China, I was a happy user(not affiliated with them, by any means) of a certain "myssh.me" (www) and it costed 20 Kuai (maybe 3 USD) a month and was pretty fast, faster then any other VPN available at the time.

But I just looked and this version of "them" was already taken down( this version was already SocialHarmonized, to use the chinese slang (colloqial term) )

Don't have time to find their new adress right now, but is like some torrent sites, change adress all the time, but the name is similar. Don accept imitations,...

It should have a chat tool in the website, you send a message and they answer right away(sometimes half-day, when they are lazy) and they will arrange payment by Alipay or WechatPay, and give your passcode.

The website should be well made and written in good english, and I think their logo was a horse, so if is not like this, is not the real myssh and is some fake imitator.

But with the crackdowns happening on VPN there still needs to be legitimate options. In my case I was an English teacher, and often we'd need to find resources from the internet for supplementary teaching materials. Can't have VPN on the school computers

Well, then you already want too much, right? VPN will give access to the Kids in the school to Porn and who knows what. So....

China is still a dictatorship, right, It is not the Disneyland. But Even in England you cannot install a VPN at a school's computer......

This is mostly true. However, there are also signs of change as they are starting to enforce the digital border. https://www.scmp.com/tech/policy/article/2180960/chinese-vpn...

Good datapoint. I opened it and I see that is probably some Hong Kong newspaper. I like Hongkonese people very much, one of my favorite people in the world, really.

They are unique and so nice, if you know how to be friendly, of course. So...

I started reading with attention, and her picture was actually pretty, ( for my taste, no cure for yellow fever)...

...But when She starts to call "Beijing" (!!!!!)...(sigh)...

The little cop of some whoever place in GuangDong, I just stop reading right there, Not to waste my brain with the unlogic logic that was possibly coming...

But, is an important datapoint. The Long winter is Coming, this summer has already lasted 8 years or so. But just 1 in a billion, but one by one you make a billion.

But i read more and things like this, quote from her:

"Many companies complained that their paid-for VPN services were not functioning for up to a week."

Sounds weird. Is easy to make a point to any theory in China, because there is a lot of people there, you can get a lot of datapoints and anecdotes to make any point, right.

If I want to make a pretty headline about the humanity hugest police crackdown on ICE(that drug the vietnamese girls like, and I have to say it is nice, maybe is Meth, I don't know , probably Australia is called Ice, In China is Called LIUBIN, and is the Drug Number 1 in China, The Drug of The People, so ........

I can write a book about that crackdown, right.......

How many social points do they strike when they find you use a VPN?

I really like your comment, I think is the best comment I have ever read in Hackernews, I mean, I say for the sake of Fun, not for work or science or knowledge,...

...But for Entertainment, for the pure Fun itself, This was the best comment I ever read, And this proves that Hackernews is still not going the way of the Dodo[1] (in this case, the way of Slashdot)...

And proves that, sofar, alecco is the smartest (or at least the funniest in a smart way ) guy in Hackernews.

There is a reason Professor Moriarty's bits always converge, and the reason was the Pure Fun, off course.

I almost forgot to answer the question:

The Chinese Cops use VPN's to watch Japanese Porn together with their wives and girlfriends, if they are not married yet, , because the Cops are not machines, so...

I think they will let this one pass unpunished...

Unless you are using a VPN to scorch the chinese President in public like I do: Xi Jin Pin is a Incompetent War Monger !!! I Want HuJinDao Back !!!!!!!

So, in this case, if they catch me using my VPN to do what I am doing here, so I will loose a lot of social points, my friend, and I will... BEI HEXIE LE ( Get Harmonized ).

Probably 1 full year in Jail, if they catch me saying what I am saying using a VPN.

So I am a Brave guy , Right?

1- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodo

very strange comment

Thanks for pointing.

I went to read my comment above with Maximum Attention, too see why is strange, or If there is something strange on the my comment. So...

Yes, there is something strange, thanks for pointing, dboon.

Sounded like I want a Competent War Monger as my ruler.

No, just to clarify, I want a Competent Not War Monger.


Apparently it's just technical problems: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-24/china-is-...

Wouldn't surprise me if the leaders reversed the decision, instead of it being a technical problem. They've been known to reverse some bad decisions before, like taking coals away from average citizens during winter time.

The government seems to be in panic mode, what with the recent news of luxury brands sales crashing 30-50%, lowest economic growth since 1990, 30% of factories have left while another 30% are looking to move within the next year, lowest level of birth since 1961, population set to shrink in 8 years, etc.

"lowest level of birth since 1961"

This is a good thing that shows(if not proves)that they are getting out of poverty.

And is something they pursued for decades, so this is pointless info for the point you make: "China gov in Panick mode"

Now, The current President, was already born with the lack of confidence, it means, the first day he assumed China's Gov, He was already in Panick mode.

He needed to break a lot of the internal stability and a lot of power lines Inside the Party, to arise to power, So , His government was born with this crucial weakness already,

And thats the reason the first week of assuming presidency he ordered to place absurdly ridiculous warmongering Ads in all the subway screens....

..Absurd and ridiculous even for the Chinese, the chinese average Joe is much smarter then what you think.

When a ruler start talking too much about war, you know he is afraid and Scared of loosing his power.

Master Margareth Tatcher explained that if you need to Show Power, It is because you don't have the power.

But taking google or yahoo down for days was already normal 15 years ago (when google was not totally blocked) ...

Is not anything significant, just a collateral datapoint, at least for me, who have much more Older and Broader data about this issue.

Luxury brands crash is not because of economic reasons, Luxury Buyers don't care about economical crisis, they are already freaking Rich, They are Rich in any situation, they are not affected, specially in China, where are Billionaires every corner. So why the sales dropped??

Because this wealth people got their moneys from corruption, and chinese people is fed up with this,( fight corruption, same as WarMongering, is the bulshitt the new president use to try to look better , because of his lack of confidence)...

And this people are afraid of the Security Police hunting down "grey" or "black money" , So they don't go near a Louis Vitton Shop even with a 10 feet pole.

Economy is bad because of incompetence of current government, Economical Incopentence, political incompetence, all Incompetence you can think.

That't the reason, but despise His Incompetence, our economy is still doing not so bad. So the wishful thinking of China Moon land deniers ( people who believe that the chinese space craft landing in the dark side of the moon is a fake video)...

And this wishful thinkers Deniers, will wait until the end of their lifetimes, if they think China economical Apocalypse is coming.

The Bible's Apocalypse will come before that, believe me.

I have been listening to "China will brake anytime now" for at least 25 years, before I even dream to be approved of the Economy University in China.

So I don't worry about economy, but I am extremely worried about the current government Malice and Incompentece,

...exactly the opposite of the former Hu Jin Dao and Wen Jia Bao ruling period, a period of Competent and wise ruling, that is unfortunately not the case right now.

I'll enlighten you. Totalitarian regimes tend to croak not when repressions are maxed out, unlike what the popular opinion suggests, but when they run out of steam to sustain them.

It is especially true when they run out of steam right midway during a major purge.

Venisuela now is a textbook example of that.

What you say is a complete Bullshit. Your writing is so bad that your logic is completely mumbo-jumbo. Will not waste my time with brain-less people.

Don't tell me you are a programmer, please.

A few years ago, Hacker News decided to change It's Spirit, and become more like reddit, because normal people like me feel shy or embarrassed to show ignorance in front of the Highly Intellectual High Level people who used to comment here....

By that time, I thought that decision made by HN rulers was a Wise decision, not to become the manure field Named Reddit, but become a little bit more fun and relaxed and have more human communication...

I am starting to think i was wrong....

I miss the TempleOS[1] guy, really...


I just went to wikipedia and saw that last year Terry A. Davis has passed away.

R.I.P Terry TT :( :( :(

This should be in a headline in Hackernews.

TempleOS will never be forgotten

I am crying. Tears for Terry, will never forget you, Man...

People report that it's already working again: https://www.v2ex.com/t/530388

And, Microsoft even follows China’s censorship rules.

Employees of tech companies protest when their companies collaborate with defense departments. But, yet those employees aren’t very loud when it comes to censorship.

Very good! Thanks for educating me.

In 2019 people just don't care as much about censorship or freedom of speech as they used to. Not saying it's right, but that's the way most people think now. I can't remember how many times I've had conversations with people who genuinely had no idea why censorship is a bad idea or why listening to opposing ideas can improve your life.

Normal case of average stupidity until something bad happens again, I would smugly guess.


The popular counterpant to "Everyone I don't like is Hitler": "Everyone I don't like is a communist".

The 50s have called and want their witchhunt back.

I will order a T-Shirt with these 2 sentences.the times we live.

by blattimwind. I will give the credit(in smaller fonts, sure)

maybe change/replace the "I don't like" by "stupid" or "dumb" or "brainwashed"

Is fun.

But when you make fun of Nazism, and you equate the negation of humanity, you make more harm then fun. Actually you make big harm for the world.

But Who cares 'bout freaking world, I will make my t-shirt.

humor was ruled by some supreme court as free to scorch anyone in any manner, if, and only if, made in form of charge. So I may need some drawing on it.

Yeah but is true, some people are afraid of communism as like it was Aliens from Evil planet, others are afraid of Political Incorrectness as if was the Hydra of Lerna[1], so...each to their own.I upvote this blattimwind comment above, and I never vote, is against my principles, up or down, left or right. But this was a good one and is exception.


Microsoft never promised to be a world-healing company.

Quick tip: when people give out about a massive company (one with a real influence on the world, mind you) doing something they feel isn't right, that's :not the same thing: as assuming the company has a moral duty to heal the world.

So Google's fault is that they try to?

So, Google's Project Dragonfly is probably dead in the water now. If the PRC has banned Microsoft, despite it playing by their censorship rules, I don't see why they'd let Google in.

It honestly makes no difference. Bing search in China was absolutely useless the last few times I was there. Searches for any keyword, including technical terms, just returned a list of unrelated “news” articles.

Bing in China fills my needs when I visit. Taking a look at my recent browsing history I was able to use Bing in China to find: hotels that accept foreign guests, terminals for flights, train maps, etc.

Same for me - it was fine when looking for touristy stuff, restaurants opening hours and things like that.

I had the exact same experience with Bing outside of China.

> Bing,..., is active on 320,000 unique devices monthly, according to third-party research firm iResearch. That’s dwarfed by Baidu’s 466 million and Sogou’s 43 million.

Wow, bing is even less popular there than it is here relative to google.

I mean Bing also means sick in Chinese, so it's not a good choice of name.

False, for reasons others have already pointed out.

Why do people believe this myth? Microsoft has plenty of Chinese employees and Qi Lu was the executive VP of Bing for quite a few years. If there was an issue with the name, it would have been addressed by their marketing department long ago.

It's not a myth, "bing" does means "sick".

It also means other things like "ice", but "sick" is the first thing that comes to mind, and in China this is especially a big deal due to superstitions. Naming things is very important here.

amusing anecdote: I remember a discussion about someone who wanted to name his shop 森林木 (three trees symbol, two trees symbol, one tree symbol) and everyone told him it was a bad idea and it would fail because the trees where getting fewer and fewer and that this name was an omen of bankruptcy, and if anything he should put it in the opposite order. (He ended up choosing a different name entirely)

Bing is a really bad name, even tho this had probably nothing to do with it's relative failure

No, "bing" by itself does not mean sick. The sound "bing" maps to at least 59 possible characters across the 4 tones[0] of Mandarin. Only one particular character that maps to "bing4" means sick and it's one out of at least 21 possibilities[1], though I'll grant that it's the one that people are most likely to think of first.

Moreover, as it's normally pronounced by westerners, Bing would most likely map to "bing1" anyway.

[0] https://www.mdbg.net/chinese/dictionary?page=chardict&cdqman...

[1] https://www.mdbg.net/chinese/dictionary?page=chardict&cdqman...

> Moreover, as it's normally pronounced by westerners, Bing would most likely map to "bing1" anyway.

Sounds more like bing4 to my ear, but see for yourself:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/86/Zh-bing1... (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bing1#Mandarin)

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a5/Zh-b%C3%... (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/b%C3%ACng#Mandarin)

Written as 'bing' is may mean many, many things. I doubt any Chinese will say 'bing' means 'sick' not least because a syllable means nothing to them without a tone.

It's very likely the first thing they'll think of, I never said it's the only thing. We're talking about a country here where many elevators don't have a 4th floor because 4 is the same syllable (with a different tone), as death. Same goes for Japan btw.

The Chinese name is "必应”,which means "will reply"

I'm not surprised they were having issues if their systems are optimized for less than a million monthly unique users. The article says 320,000. A single popular news article could easily absolutely overwhelm that level of traffic.

I started using this meta-search engine: searx.me It works fine for me. Integrates results from different search engines.

The western culture all accept china should have a firewall. That ...

It is abnormal you know.

Noone said that. If anything we accept we have no control over China's policies.

Boycotting is one small lever of control.

But then you'd have to boycott some of the most loved US brands in history! Surely you wouldn't want to harm THEM? Just because they gave china so much money to become a world power doesn't make THEM part of the problem, right? Have a heart! You wouldn't want to possibly impact the retirement plans of those dearly loved brand CEO's would you? Naaaa.


I'm not on Windows, nor do I use Bing, but no it's not really when the company is a certain size.

You have control over your own choice to oppress people or not oppress people.

I'm not oppressing anyone. The Chinese government is. I'm not a lawmaker nor Chinese.

If you work with the Chinese government to carry out or abide by censorship practices, you are oppressing people. You have the choice to not comply.

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