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Github blocked from China (viewdns.info)
103 points by hunvreus on Jan 21, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 66 comments

I believe the blocking is directly related to an automated train ticket polling plugin that had brought down Github just days ago. Due to upcoming Chinese New Year, newly released train tickets are sold within minutes. That plugin introduces huge traffic to already crumbling ticket vending site, and it has obviously made railroad bureau angry. Blocking Github makes that plugin immediately malfunction because it makes reference to javascript files hosted on Github pages. The bureau has also paid a visit to the plugin's author, for the purpose of intimidation perhaps.

Do you have a link to a news article or something that explains all this?

Tech in Asia has an English summary & commentary about the train ticket plugins ban:


Indeed there seems to be one plugin which hotlinks a js file from Github: http://www.ce.cn/cysc/tech/07hlw/guonei/201301/21/t20130121_...

But of course, blocking Github didn't affect any of the other plugins. So Phoenix TV is reporting that most other plugins are still actually working:


ccp0202 is absolutely correct. seems that no american media or organization know what the heck this is for yet. but you can check out some chinese sources.

Doesn't GitHub ban people who hotlink to assets? I remember reading this somewhere.

People host their blogs on Github nowadays

I know, but hosting only your assets there is frowned upon. I think I saw that on a tech talk about GitHub.

Ouch, but maybe solvable...

Confirmed from Beijing. Thought it was the internet connectivity in the office that failed, but same at home.

Did a traceroute and this reveals an expected result. It is really the DNS which returns a wrong value '' instead of the expected '', so it looks like a dns poisoning attempt or some other dns issue. Editing your /etc/hosts file or using opendns can help in this case.

traceroute to github.com (, 30 hops max, 60 byte packets 1 ( 1.987 ms 2.265 ms 2.832 ms 2 ( 35.160 ms 35.416 ms 35.675 ms 3 ( 20.185 ms 22.808 ms 24.970 ms 4 ( 33.900 ms 33.950 ms 34.056 ms 5 * * * 6 ( 71.221 ms 48.915 ms 50.631 ms 7 ( 70.620 ms 72.682 ms 95.149 ms 8 ( 88.623 ms 90.785 ms 93.630 ms 9 ( 267.972 ms 276.896 ms 277.973 ms 10 ( 265.656 ms 269.840 ms 210.408 ms 11 * * * 12 ( 286.678 ms 288.514 ms 291.715 ms 13 vlan905.core5.iad2.rackspace.net ( 303.488 ms 307.324 ms 305.763 ms 14 aggr301a-1-core5.iad2.rackspace.net ( 311.652 ms 314.041 ms 317.400 ms 15 github.com ( 315.588 ms 317.580 ms 320.812 ms

So with OpenDNS it loads... still some packetloss, but this is expected. In the worst case, use a VPN. Although, this means it will trouble Chinese participation and contributions to projects even more.

At least it is big news on Weibo where people complain about 'creating dumb people when you cant study code'.

This might have to do with the a ticket polling (bashing) application since during this time it is hard to get tickets for the train due to the yearly mass migration for spring festival. It referred to assets hosted on github pages.

I'm not sure how any developer survives in China without a VPN, so this is probably one of the least vulnerable groups.

On the other hand, any deployment strategies that depend on github are going to be hosed.

I no longer live in China. Internet issues are a bit reason for that.

Yeah, as a permanently-travelling techie, China is a no-go area for me. Their internet policies, the treatment I once received at an embassy of theirs applying for an innocent tourist visa for less than 2 weeks (just to check out the place really), and their pollution levels in urban areas were 3 big enough issues combined for me to conclude -- I can skip that place probably for another decade at least.

For folks who are into Chinese culture or language, there's always way saner (in all 3 respects) places (and arguably equally beautiful if you're into the nature twist of things) such as Taiwan, Singapore, urban parts of Malaysia, heck Macau or Hong Kong if need be.

Folks who're stuck there for career reasons -- don't envy them. Folks who stay there voluntarily -- it boggles my mind, but different strokes I guess.

There are tools that make it easy to work disconnected. Ruby On Rails is one, because of its one-stop-shop nature and its easy-to-download docs.

This really sucks because Github doesn't seem to like my favorite OpenVPN providers -- I can access the site, but actual git operations don't work. Previously I'd just disconnect, clone/push/etc., and reconnect, but now that might not work at all.

Pain in the ass, more so by the day it seems.

Have you tried using a https:// url instead of git:// url?

As a developer from China, I can tell you that I am furious now. The bottom line has long been that sites such as Github.com & etc are not blocked. This is no longer true...

Seriously? (I say this as someone living in Shanghai now, who has lived here for the last 10 years). Github was your bottom line?

Meant to say that I have had enough of this situation.

I explained to my girlfriend why I was laughing and she didn't find it as funny as I did.

This was predicted around a month ago, after the release of the tool that detects routers acting in the Great Firewall. [1]

But I'd assume you'd just Streisand Effect the project if it was closed down, almost inevitable once mongol was released, it'd just be forked.

Unless the block was a culmination of other factors that I don't know about, then I'd love to hear more.

[1] https://github.com/mothran/mongol/issues/1

Confirmed in Yunnan.

I just returned to China after most of a year. The VPN stuff has gotten much worse. Tor is banned, new wacky Tor is banned. My work VPN (OpenVPN based, not publicly listed or used by anyone else) appears blocked (though it worked a couple of days back on a different link; I have a theory this is China Unicom vs. China Telecom landlines).

I am presently exploring IPSec/PPTP/SSH+PPP style solutions. Can anyone save me time here and tell me what is likely to be the most reliable? OpenVPN has been my mainstay in the past and it is now too much trouble here.

SSH+PPP is looking good from a low-latency, port-hopping, unlikely-to-be-blocked perspective, but figuring out how to get a client for that up in OSX is driving me nuts.

This is a downside to using a code hosting site. Joel Spolsky once said that "politics are orthogonal to software". I might not care if Chinese censors block my blog, but I want my code to be available to as many as possible. The smaller the site that holds the code, the easier it is for them to selectively allow it.

I don't want to go out of my way to make it so they can allow access to it despite a horrible censorship system, but I'd prefer not to put all my eggs into one giant basket either.

Software is easy to distribute. Copy your eggs to multiple baskets.

Cannot access the Hacker News Meetup page anymore... (http://wiredcraft.github.com/hnshanghai/)

Are you at it? I'm the guy sitting at a table with a beer, a laptop, glasses and a terrible, terrible sweater.

So, did you find each other? Don't keep us in suspense! :)

It's kind of ironic, as open source is a pretty socialist idea in the first place (not that China is socialist, but it's supposed to be).

Is it really? The author of code owns that code. It's not like the workers using the factory (the programmers using the languages) owns it, they are just licensed to use it way more freely than it the owner did not give any freedoms.

In a communist society then the governemt would take ownership of all code (of factories). That's not Stallmans idea.

Saying that 'socialism == sharing' is too simple.

One of the core ideas of Communism - workers own the means of production. Source code is means of production for software. Capitalism is when the source code is owned by the "factory owner", i.e. corporation, and not by the people who actually produce it.

Example: programmers who work at Microsoft don't own the source code and can't use it for their own benefit, while Microsoft makes money from it and only pays wages, which are below the value of source code to the company. This is the old model of Capitalism.

Open Source is very much a Communist idea. People who work on open source, even if they are payed for it, still have access to their work and can use it independently of the company.

Great point. It seems obvious in retrospect, yet I had never thought of it with that level of clarity. It also explains why, as I ponder my career, I'm drawn to companies where a significant portion (or all) of my work would be open source.

On the other hand, given the terrible outcomes communism produced in the 20th century, it has a well-deserved bad reputation. I'd therefore hesitate to link it to open source without noting why open source is different: Code, once written, can be copied infinitely for free (or at a very low cost), so the model can work.

Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

There's also the issue of git users getting hit pretty hard whenever GitHub goes down or is inaccessible for some reason.

For all their talk about the importance of using a distributed version control system, they've managed to pretty heavily centralize themselves on GitHub.

Like they say in China: "we just practise capitalism and call it communism".

My blog, http://www.in-the-attic.com is hosted on Github pages, I have tested against the site this post links to and my site is accessible. IP it resolves to is and this is the Github pages IP address.

Seems to be restricted to domain name resolution, not actual IP blocking. We started noticing some pages going down (http://developer.github.com/ and http://www.github.com) while others were fine (http://github.com).

Combined with the recent upgrade of the GFW, we're stuck with SSH tunnels. There's a business opportunity here (and we're not far from throwing ourselves at it).

I was unable to open http://openhack.github.com (also on github pages) so it seems to be targeted.

Yeah, this is happening because I specify the A Name record for the in-the-attic.com domain, if I hit gkwelding.github.com which is the github page itself then it's also blocked. Looks like some DNS FUBAR'ness is occurring somewhere.

We just added GitHub to our Firewall Unblocker for Hola, but we don't know if it's working. Can you check it out and report to me? Just install from Hola.org our Windows client > hover over the Hola tray icon and click Hola Unblocker. On this page choose GitHub from the Firewall Unblocker, and let me know at steve@hola.org Thanks! If it works, start telling your friends! BTW Hola is totally free! Thanks!

Hmmm...I can access github from Beijing without any problems... (I am using Google's DNS servers)

Traffic directed at and is not always reliable (intercepted and malformed) where I life. I use mostly opendns and a tunneled dns proxy back to some servers i have. Bu yes, it works by avoiding the poisoned dns servers

A friend of a friend from Beijing said github works for him (~2 minutes ago).

I'm actually flying there on Wednesday, let's see how it goes :)

It's blocked in my Beijing apartment.

My personal website is hosted by github and it's accessible from China. So they don't seem to block those -- weird.

They just have too many enemies and too scared.I wish github can be recovered,otherwise I have to cross the wall.

Thanks to the blocking, no more projects being OutSourced to China, at-least the ones hosted on Github now!

Is it because of some govern"mental" issue or just some technical problem?

not clear. might be DNS poison... since a trace returns a functional path and using an alternative DNS it seems to work.

You can't survive in China without a stable VPN connection.

China blocked VPN protocols.

You can't survive in China without a closed homebrew tunnel protocol.

No-go in Shanghai :-(

Yeah, I know. Anyone else at the HN meetup at Abbey Road? I'm thewhite guy with glasses, a beer, laptop and a receding hairline.

The next HN meetup will be held on February 21, after the Chinese New Year: http://shanghaihn.org/

Bollocks. I thought it was tonight. See you next month.

Subscribed you to the mail reminder so that you don't forget: see you there.

Is it possible to be subscribed as well?

You can subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom of the official page: http://shanghaihn.org (hopefully that words fine despite being a Github pages :) ).

Thanks! Are there any HN meet ups in Beijing?

It is usually the first Thursday of the month; last one was two weeks ago. We're having the next one a bit late because of the holidays.

See you in a month.

Anyone know if there's an organized HN meetup in Beijing?

Yea, there was one a little more than a year ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2502759

The guy organizing it doesn't seem to be around anymore, but could shoot him an email to check.

Definitely going. Living across the street!

I keep meaning to go, but never get round to it. Maybe when it gets a bit warmer!

edit your /etc/hosts file as it looks like it is only a dns-poison.

This sucks, the GFW sucks, the government sucks!!

blocked websites may be more popular in China now...before, not many people know Github..


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