Add an S for Uncensored Google Search in China

The Great Firewall of China censors hundreds of keywords. In the case of Google, this means that if you search for any of them the result is the infamous Connection Reset. However, if you use the encrypted version of Google, the firewall cannot filter the connection based on keywords. Accessing the encrypted version of Google from China takes a few tweaks, but it is not blocked. The reason that it's not straightforward to use is that Google redirects you to other URLs depending on what you start out with. Here's an overview:

You go toYou're redirected toEncrypted (HTTPS)Can search for blocked keywordsAccessible in China
http://www.google.cnhttp://www.google.com.hk *NNY
http://www.google.comhttp://www.google.com.hkNNY
https://www.google.comhttp://www.google.com.hkNNY
https://www.google.com/ncrhttp://www.google.comNNY
https://encrypted.google.com-YYN
https://www.google.com.hk-YYY
https://www.google.co.uk-YYY

So, as you can see, if you enter https://www.google.com.hk or https://www.google.co.uk, you are not redirected, the site is encrypted, you can search for any keywords and the sites are not blocked in China. In other words, you have uncensored Google searches in China without a VPN.

Another alternative is to use the HTTPS Everywhere plugin available for Firefox and Chrome.

* The redirect on http://www.google.cn is manual, you have to click to go to the Hong Kong version of Google. All other redirects are done automatically, without the user being informed.

Comments

More Blog Posts

Subscribe to our mailing list
Show content from Blog | Google+ | Twitter | All. Subscribe to our blog using RSS.

Wed, Mar 19, 2014

Bing Bests Baidu Censorship

Abstract

Independent research from Xia Chu has shown that, in addition to non-China content, Bing censors a vast amount of content that is hosted inside China and which is not censored by China-based internet companies like Baidu. After communicating our issues with Microsoft, Bing removed certain censorship rules (kudos to Bing), but much work remains to be done.

We recently called for Microsoft to release its transparency report for Bing (as have others - full disclosure, Rebecca sits on our advisory board).  Microsoft has yet to respond to this request. But Xia’s independent research of Bing’s China censorship policy could be regarded as a de facto transparency report for the search engine.

In this thorough study, the results of which we have verified, Xia examined Bing's SERP (search engine results page) for over 30,000 sensitive and nonsensitive query terms, and launched these queries from both inside and outside of China. Comparing and examining these results, plus querying with special search operators, reveals unprecedented detail on Bing's China filtering practices.

The main findings from Xia’s research include:

  • Bing has a list of “forbidden” terms where no results are shown. 139 such terms have been identified.

  • Bing has a blacklist of websites that it never shows to China users. 329 such websites are identified. (5 have been lifted after our communication with Microsoft.)

Thu, Feb 13, 2014

Setting Bing's Broken Record Straight

We can also now trace complicit Bing Chinese censorship back to 2009 as highlighted by Nicholas Kristof. It looks like Microsoft has indeed changed its censorship mechanism after our research made headlines this week. But Bing is still seriously flawed on two fronts: its algorithm favors pro-Chinese government websites by default on all search terms in simplified Chinese and their front end mistakenly delivers explicit censorship of search results on some search terms for users from all over the world.

Wed, Feb 12, 2014

No error here: Microsoft deploying Chinese censorship on global scale

Microsoft says: “The results themselves are and were unaltered outside of China”. This is simply not true.

Tue, Feb 11, 2014

Bing practicing Chinese censorship globally

Our latest research indicates that Microsoft’s search engine Bing is censoring English and Chinese language search on its home page in order to exclude certain results. We have also noticed that Bing is practicing subtle censorship with search results. In both instances, Bing is filtering out links and stories that the Chinese authorities would deem damaging.

Thu, Jan 23, 2014

Massive blocking of foreign media in China

After Tuesday’s report Leaked Records Reveal Offshore Holdings of China’s Elite by ICIJ, China blocked a number of major newspaper websites. All websites below were blocked after publishing copies of the original report. They're all listed as the publishing partners for “Chinaleaks” stories on ICIJ's website. The Great Firewall rarely blocks non-Chinese websites. Many of them have published the Chinese version of the report which probably explains the unusual development.

Newspaper

Main Language

Article

http://www.icij.org

English

Chinese

http://www.theguardian.com

English

Subscribe to our blog using RSS.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.