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Ars Technica

.Mac websites, images appear to collide with Great Firewall

April 30, 2008, Ars Technica

Websites, images, and other media hosted at users' web-based .Mac accounts appear to be the latest to fall victim to China's Great Firewall. .Mac users across the web began reporting the mysterious outage within the last several days, saying that while they're still able to access their iDisks and make changes through iWeb on their desktops, they're being denied HTTP access to their web pages at .Mac.

MacFixIt says that users in Beijing, Shenzhen, Hunan, Hangzhou, Zhuhai have all experienced problems. We have confirmed, both with readers and WebSitePulse's Great Firewall test, that the pages are, indeed, inaccessible in Beijing and Shanghai. Even if you're just trying to access an image on someone's .Mac account, it won't go through; anything that points you to mac.com is fair game.

We believe that .Mac's blockage (if, indeed, it is being blocked) is likely due to the same reasons China blocks a number of blog hosting sites. The government probably feels that the content posted by bloggers (and now .Mac owners) is inappropriate for the eyes and minds of Chinese citizens and could potentially contain "decadent, backward thoughts."

The apparent block comes just weeks after news spread that Wikipedia and Blogspot had once again been unblocked within China. The Chinese government has had an on again, off again relationship with both sites for a number of years, in addition to a handful of other blog hosts, so it wouldn't be surprising to see access to .Mac restored within the next several months and then blocked again a couple months later. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Keep us posted if you're a Chinese .Mac user who manages to get that access back.