As of 3.30AM Beijing time, GFW is back to normal. YouTube is no longer accessible from behind the Wall. Party is over.
As I am writing this blog post, millions of netizens in China are celebrating the unblocking of their favourite websites, including Youtube, Picasa, Bloggers, etc. Many of these sites have been blocked since late 2008 as a part of a Chinese government sanctioned anti-vulgarity campaign.
Messages posted on Twitters suggest that blockages to Internet access have been lifted in Dalian, Changchun, Wuhan, Chongqing, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Beijing and Guangzhou.
It is not clear why or to what extent the blockage has been lifted. Some said that it was due to some telecom cables being damaged in the snow storms. Others warned that this unblocking on some ISPs was caused by GFW upgrading or undergoing maintenance, and should not be regarded as real unblocking. In any case, most Chinese netizens are taking this as a New Years gift and many of them are now busy uploading and/or downloading videos and photographs that are normally banned by the censors.
But Ivan, our co-blogger and present house guest who knows a few thing about astrology, maintains that recent events are typical of Mercury retrograde. “The will of Heaven is, once again, playing tricks on those who are transgressing their authority to rule.”