Accessing Google from China

All of us who use Google within China noticed it. Gmail would misbehave - sometimes resetting or not loading. Sometimes it worked okay. Android devices using Google services would sometimes misbehave. At other times, they would work okay. Then, around the end of May, direct Google access was fully shut off within the People's Republic of China. Suspicions were that the authorities did not want the Chinese to access information about the slaughter of protesters around Tianamen Square on June 3rd and 4th, 1989. Google's policy is to let searchers find most things on the internet, except for a very short list of obviously harmful content (computer viruses and malware, child porn, and so forth). Well, that is way too open for the Chinese, who want to control ALL information available within the PRC.

Google is still quite accessible within China, and censorship efforts are failing to the extent that people are willing to use technology to protect their freedoms.

Restoring Google Access in China Using Collateral Freedom Techniques

As to uncensored Google searches, restoring access is as easy as stinky tofu. Volunteers are setting up Google mirrors on domains that the Chinese will not block. They have a large compelling interest in keeping accessible on the mainland. Topping the list is Amazon.com, worth billions of RMB in yearly Chinese commerce. No, they will not block Amazon any time soon. Thus, mirrors set up there and secured by SSL (HTTPS pages) are safe to use:


https://s3-ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/google.cn/index.html
https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/google2/index.html
https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/google3/index.html
https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/google4/index.html
https://s3-ap-northeast-1.amazonaws.com/google5/index.html
https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/google6/index.html
https://s3-sa-east-1.amazonaws.com/google7/index.html
https://s3-ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/google.cn/index.html
https://s3.amazonaws.com/google./index.html

While you're exploring the new and wide open world of sites unblocked using principles of Collateral Freedom, take a look at Freeweibo and Freeweibo2. There's even a new and unblockable mirror of the China Digital Times! Pao-Pao is unblocked and available as well.

Restoring Google Access in China Using the Hosts File

Millions of smart phones in China use the Android operating system, and have been impaired by the Google blockage. Updates, searches, and other functions simply stopped working. Many users experienced increased battery drain as devices wasted power trying to access Google servers blocked by the GFW. Windows, Mac, Chrome, and Linux computers have simply not had full access to Google, but haven't seen impairment to the levels seen on Android devices.

Good news is that Google access from China can be restored by editing the hosts file. The hosts file works system-wide on a device, directing traffic for certain dommains to specific IP addresses. For example, annoying advertising sites can be blocked by directing them internally to 127.0.0.1, while Google can be unblocked using an IP like 203.208.46.149. Here is where to find the hosts file:

HOSTS FILE LOCATIONS

ANDROID DEVICES:
/system/etc/hosts

WINDOWS SYSTEMS:
C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts or %systemroot%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

LINUX SYSTEMS:
/etc/hosts

MACINTOSH STSTEMS:
/private/etc/hosts or /etc/hosts

The following list should be copied and pasted into the hosts file to restore access to Google from China:

203.208.46.200 apps.google.com
203.208.46.200 books.google.com
203.208.46.206 drive.google.com
203.208.46.206 0.drive.google.com
203.208.46.206 1.drive.google.com
203.208.46.206 2.drive.google.com
203.208.46.206 3.drive.google.com
203.208.46.206 4.drive.google.com
203.208.46.206 5.drive.google.com
203.208.46.200 groups.google.com
203.208.46.200 play.google.com
203.208.46.200 scholar.google.com
203.208.46.149 mail.google.com
203.208.46.146 www.google.com
203.208.41.144 google.com.hk
203.208.41.145 google.com.hk
203.208.46.200 www.youtube.com
203.208.46.200 youtube.com


Tags: Google, China, Collateral Freedom, Amazon Servers, Great Firewall of China

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