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

 

GoAgent

GoAgent’s Github repo is also removed today (Aug 25, 2015). GoAgent was the most popular circumvention tool in China. It relied on Google App Engine to tunnel traffic across GFW. It was hosted on Google Code and later moved to Github. The author phuslu deleted the repo without explanation but changed his account description to be “Everything that has a beginning has an end”.

 

What is ShadowSocks?

According to its official site, which is still running at the time of writing, ShadowSocks

is “A secure socks5 proxy, designed to protect your Internet traffic”. It is one of the most popular circumvention tools in China and is on par with VPNs and GoAgent .

ShadowSocks is merely a protocol, just like a VPN, that secures Internet traffic.  A similar example is torrenting. Torrenting pirate content is illegal, but the torrent protocol is totally legal and has many legitimate uses.The protocol is completely open-source and the author made no financial gain from the project. The author, whose user name is clowwindy, did not provide any service to let Chinese netizens bypass Internet censorship. Despite this, the police visited his home and pressured him to remove the project.
 

Trend of crackdown on tools

Since January, 2015, the authorities have stepped up their control over VPNs in China. This trend has continued into the summer and recently other circumvention tool developers have encountered problems.

In a recent statement, Qujing, another circumvention tool, said that the authorities told them that Internet users in China can only use legitimate means to get information. All services offered by Qujing closed down on July 28, 2015.  

Unlike ShadowSocks, Qujing is a commercial service. It sells a service similar to a VPN to bypass censorship.

Other famous VPN vendors have also shut down their websites after pressure from the authorities.

 

Other people who are mirroring the ShadowSocks code

Others have mirrored the ShadowSocks code and those mirrors are still available. However, if the author heeds the police warning and stops work on ShadowSocks, no updates will be made to the code. However, since the code is open source, other developers may take up the cause and continue to improve ShadowSocks, especially given the attention that this incident has generated in China.

https://github.com/shadowsocks-backup/shadowsocks

https://github.com/AirScr/shadowsocks

 

Be Careful

This incident with ShadowSocks makes it clear that the Cyberspace Administration of China is working closely with state security and local police to further Xi Jinping’s crackdown on internet freedom in China. We strongly encourage all developers who are operating in the internet freedom space in China to stay anonymous. This should include choosing to continue your work on an anonymous basis.

 

FreeBrowser

Though ShadowSocks is no longer maintained, it will still continue to work for the near future. But we recommend users explore other alternatives. Our own circumvention tool, FreeBrowser,  has never been blocked. You can download FreeBrowser via either of the following links:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.greatfire.freebrowser

https://github.com/greatfire/wiki

We will continue to develop and mitigate new censorship methods created by GFW. We work anonymously and will not be shut down by the Chinese government.  

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And so last week the Chinese authorities determined that Twitter was the target. In particular, the authorities targeted the Twitter account for Guo Wengui (https://twitter.com/KwokMiles), the rebel billionaire who is slowly leaking information about corrupt Chinese government officials via his Twitter account and through his YouTube videos. Guo appeared to ramp up his whistle-blowing efforts last week and the Chinese authorities, in turn, ramped up theirs.

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Flowers left outside Google China’s headquarters after its announcement it might leave the country in 2010. Photo: Wikicommons.

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Our newest website, Circumvention Central (CC), aims to provide real-time information and data about circumvention solutions that work in China. Since 2011, we have been collecting data about blocked websites in China and now we will add data about the effectiveness of VPNs and other circumvention tools.

We are launching CC with four main objectives in mind.

Our first objective is to help to grow the number of Chinese who circumvent censorship restrictions in China. By sharing our information and data about these tools, we hope to show a wider audience which circumvention tools are working.

Our second objective is to improve the circumvention experience for users in China by bringing transparency to tool performance. We will measure these tools on speed (how quickly popular websites are loaded) and on stability (the extent to which popular websites load successfully).

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Comments

Freebrowser works great in China. However, whats a good alternative to iOS devices?

看了之后感觉心情很沉重,但非常支持你们,感谢你们!你们所做的一切在在历史上能留下名字,一定是有重大意义的。

星星之火,可以燎原。

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