Picturing Tor censorship in China

by phobos | October 14, 2009

As reported, Tor was partially blocked by China on September 25th or so in anticipation of the CCP October 1, 2009 60th anniversary.

Here's what one directory mirror recorded for September,

And here's the growth of bridge users in response. Alas, like our graphs of bridge use in Iran in June 2009, we only have relative counts for bridge use, not absolute counts. But with a 70x increase in a week, we are talking about 10000+ bridge users:


Please note that the comment area below has been archived.

October 14, 2009



I'm in Beijing, and was using hotspot shield until it got blocked for the 60th Anniversary.

Now I'm trying TOR, but i'm having problems.

I managed to get connected to the TOR network using Vidalia and bridges (The TOR onion is green).

I also downloaded torbutton for FireFox, and enabled the torbutton, which added some proxy settings - for HTTP proxy, and for Socks.

However, i'm still unable to browse the the restricted websites. In fact, i'm not able to browse anything after enabling torbutton.

Can anyone please help me?


October 14, 2009


I can't understand why China has blocked Tor...or maybe I understand. I was also unable to use TOR when I was in Beijing last month and have no idea how to solve the problem.

October 15, 2009


I feel blocking Tor was a mistake. I've never used Tor but understand how it operates and have it installed on my Ubuntu Linux console. It is an effective way of bypassing government surveillance.

Carry on Tor Project, carry on.

October 17, 2009



但后来经过别人介绍,知道如何通过bridges来进入tor网络, 这时又发现tor真的是封不住的.

October 17, 2009


今天发现opera mini的官方网站也被封了,真是不可思议.

October 25, 2009


Hi there,

I'd like to run a Bridge server in China, to make the communication more stable. Sadly, Vidalia disagrees and tells me I cannot run a bridge, when I have no "free access" to the internet (and I guess here is meant, that I do already communicate via bridges).
Is there anything I can do? How to help?

November 08, 2009



I noticed the tor-blocking as well. Now I have a general question about tor's safetyness:

When it is not a secret, which servers are tor-servers (even many bridges didn't work and were known by the government), then every Tor-entry-point can distinguish between usual-IP and tor-IP - right?

Isn't it the easiest way, just running a TOR-Server to get IP-addresses from tor-users? Also, as long as the websites don't support https, the can see the visited websites.

Am I right? Am I wrong? How can developers fix this problem?
Would be glad for expert-answers.

November 09, 2009


No answers?
Who knows something about enry-point-safetyness?

November 15, 2009


When coloured people can become the president of US, do you think that US is the salt of the world democratic society? Well,let's see.We Chinese people do not expect Obama has an all-seeing eye,but as the president of US,Obama shoud see China has too many "coloured" things to cover truth. If Obama won't mention Tibet in last saturday Asia speech( he didnt'mention), he should, at least,don't swallwo all the "coloured cookies" (fallacy upon fallacy to cover any thing real),which is prepared for him for his China tour.

Meanwhile,we Chinese appreciate Tor,rather than Obama's China tour.

December 10, 2009


If you are running Vidalia on Mac you cannot build bridges; at least that is what the documentation tells me.

All torproject download pages are blocked.
Privoxy has been blocked since early summer.
Popilo? Who knows... can't download update to use it. ;o)

Good luck. ;o)

December 21, 2009


I am in China now. The bridges not working very good these days. I can only connect to tor network using the cache in local. I wonder if the bridges would be blocked some day.
Is there anybody can tell me? Thanks.

January 12, 2010


I must say thanks to the tor-project. The tor give me who a Chinese a window for the freedom in internet.

June 20, 2010


Any possible way to keep cached-consensus after a hiatus?
My Tor will flush cached-consensus after a while, forcing me to fetch a new bridge, which could be hard since Google Mail could be banned any time.

June 21, 2010


I've sent several get bridges requests and checked the website for bridges via another html based proxy. I always get the same stuff, it's really hard to connect to facebook. ;(

This consistency is by design to make it more difficult to enumerate all of the bridges available via that method (smtp or https).