Surfing the Internet in China slower on Sundays

Browsing websites is often a slow and frustrating experience in China. Apart from blocking over 2600 websites and searches, the Great Firewall also imposes a serious bottleneck on speed. There have been rumors that the Internet is especially slow on Sundays. Analyzing more than 80,000 tests executed by our system from March to November this year, our data seems to confirm this suspicion.

The tests consist of downloading the front page of each of the world's 500 most popular websites, as defined by Alexa. Apart from aberrations in March and June, download speeds on Sundays have consistently been between 8 and 25% slower than the average of the other days of the week. Here's the full test data summary (all speeds in bytes/second):

MonthMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySundaySunday relative to other daysNumber of tests
Mar, 201122,89823,00726,17825,56025,35623,96827,35312%11,032
Apr, 201130,36533,64029,14133,20632,96929,68927,953-11%17,775
May, 201132,69128,67636,20130,09229,45529,13025,814-17%5,889
Jun, 201121,66332,22730,50729,73628,43428,37728,8121%5,946
Jul, 201117,71928,35224,86820,98721,95522,25017,089-25%7,621
Aug, 201122,46021,47221,51620,85923,23520,24119,980-8%12,499
Sep, 201124,48522,97821,82422,17222,34519,04517,906-19%12,671
Oct, 201125,36921,41423,17222,82722,89222,57218,473-20%14,213
Nov, 201127,00024,04428,63825,64024,91025,80923,984-8%9,233
AVERAGE24,96126,20126,89425,67625,72824,56523,040-10% 

One theory why the internet would be even more restricted on Sundays is that this was the weekday chosen for the attempted Jasmine protests earlier this year. Another theory could point to Sunday being a prime day for internet users across the country to download music and movie files or to consume online media, which would explain why Saturday is the second slowest day of the week. Also, the authorities might prioritize speed on weekdays in order to allow companies somewhat better Internet access.

It is also important to note that the internet has been getting slower compared to speeds earlier this year.

Have you also experienced the slow Sunday phenomenon? Please add your comments below.

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Wed, Aug 26, 2015

Chinese developers forced to delete softwares by police

What happened?

ShawdowSocks

On August 22, an open source project called ShadowSocks was removed from GitHub.

ss.png

According to the project’s author, the police contacted him and asked him to stop working on the tool and to remove all of the code from GitHub.

police.png

He later removed the reference of the police, presumably under the pressure of the police.
edited.png

After the news, many Chinese and foreign developers, as well as ShadowSocks users, paid tribute to the author. As a result of this attention, ShadowSocks became the top trending project on GitHub.

Github.png

 

Wed, Jul 15, 2015

LinkedIn: technological and financial giants; but morally pygmies

When LinkedIn decided to create a China-hosted version of its website in February, 2014, it made a decision to compromise the company's values in the pursuit of the dollar.

It's important to note that before LinkedIn launched LingYing (the local version of the site), LinkedIn was already active in China. By their own account, they had four million registered users (with little marketing effort), a Chinese-language interface and China-based clients who were buying recruitment ads on the platform (the major source of their revenue). The site had been blocked by the authorities for one 24-hour period but otherwise was always accessible.

So why was it necessary for LinkedIn to create a local entity in China? With a local entity the company would be able to issue official receipts in RMB, making it more convenient for local companies to buy advertising on the site. A local entity also makes it easier to secure marketing deals to promote LingYing in China.

But perhaps the biggest appeal in creating a local entity for LinkedIn is that it would be among the few foreign internet companies who could cosy up with Lu Wei and the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). Having that kind of a relationship with CAC surely helps the business and those who are associated with the company.

Sat, Apr 04, 2015

CNNIC censors news about their own statement

On April 1, 2015 Google announced that they will no longer recognize the CNNIC Root and EV (extensive validation) certificate authorities (CAs).

On April 2, 2015 Mozilla concluded that CNNIC’s behaviour in issuing an unconstrained intermediate certificate to another company was ‘egregious practice’ and that Mozilla products would no longer trust any certificate issued by CNNIC’s roots. Mozilla also published a more detailed report about their actions.

After unauthorized digital certificates for several Google domains were exposed by Google and Mozilla on March 23, 2015, CNNIC censored any mention of these posts. CNNIC is not only a certificate authority, they are also China’s online censorship apparatus. CNNIC was, is and will continue to practice internet censorship.

 

News about the April 1 and 2 annoucements has again been censored on social media and also on traditional media in China.

Below is a screenshot of Weibo posts about these announcements.

 

Tue, Mar 31, 2015

Chinese authorities compromise millions in cyberattacks

The Great Firewall has switched from being a passive, inbound filter to being an active and aggressive outbound one. This is a frightening development and the implications of this action extend beyond control of information on the internet. In one quick movement, the authorities have shifted from enforcing strict censorship in China to enforcing Chinese censorship on internet users worldwide.

Fri, Mar 27, 2015

CNNIC censored Google and Mozilla’s posts about CNNIC CA

This week, Google found unauthorized digital certificates for several Google domains, the root CA of which is CNNIC. Google and Mozilla both publicly disclosed this security incident and published blog posts(Google, Mozilla). However, Chinese translations of Google’s and Mozilla's blog posts were censored on the Chinese Internet.

  • William Long is a prominent Chinese blogger on IT and tech. He translated Google’s security post without adding any personal opinions. The Chinese blogpost ranked #1 when searching CNNIC MITM in Chinese on Google and Baidu. He tweeted that he received a phone call from propaganda department demanding the post to be removed immediately. The post http://www.williamlong.info/archives/4183.html was deleted. Google cache is still available.

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Comments

I'm wondering whether you have any data on whether it has become slower to access Chinese websites from outside of China over the past year or so. I live outside of China and it has become painfully slow for me to stream videos from Chinese video-sharing sites like Tudou and Youku. Even sites like Baidu Baike and Baidu Tieba, which are mostly text with images, have become somewhat laggy. I've been wondering whether the problem lies on my end (e.g. with my ISP) or if it's part of a wider pattern.

Hi Blaise. The GFW works both ways. Accessing Chinese websites from abroad is artificially slow, just as accessing foreign websites from China is. Exactly how much slower I can't say. But we do have the data, since all URLs tested by our system are tested both from China and from the US. So it's just a matter of collecting it and creating a graph. On the to-do list. Great question!

Thanks for the reply! That's interesting to hear.

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