Last night, Web users in China had access to all of Google’s services – something that the country’s Great Firewall was supposed to prevent.
From 11:30pm on Sunday to 1:15am on Monday morning (local time), people with IP addresses based in mainland China could use YouTube and Google’s search facility. Traditionally, people would go through a VPN to access these services, but for 105 minutes they didn’t need to.
However, other Western sites such as Facebook remained blocked.
Many took to social networking sites such as WeChat and Weibo to pronounce a return of free speech in China, reports the South China Morning Post.
“At that moment, I even believed that Google was unblocked and that free speech had come back to [mainland] China again.”
However, just under two hours later, the Wall was back up and service – or a lack thereof – resumed. The reason, people are citing, is down to Google bringing online a number of new IP servers for India, Japan and other countries in South-East Asia.
Because they were new, China’s Great Firewall, also referred to as the Golden Shield Project, didn’t not recognise the IP addresses as ones it should block, and allowed them to pass through the censors.
But just under two hours after the floodgates were opened, they were sealed shut once more. This isn’t the first time the world’s most sophisticated Web filtering service has come unstuck.
In 2013, Facebook and Twitter managed to worm their way through. However, despite a series of high level talks between Facebook and the Chinese government, it seems Western sites aren’t going to be getting a chance to sell their wares inside the country any time soon.