back to article China unbans the Beeb

The BBC's English language news website is available in China for the first time. The Register received reports late last week that former restrictions had been lifted, but the BBC was unable to confirm the news. The blocking of BBC sites was always intermittent in China - if you had good political connections you could …


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  1. b shubin


    "...China's desire to improve its international image."

    not shooting monks would probably help...but then, Burma got away with it (no substantially adverse consequences followed), so why wouldn't you?

    love the PR, though. it's clumsy in a way that only a large company (Microsoft, ExxonMobil, etc.) or a government can fumble it.

  2. peter

    Comrades in Arms

    Although China does have certain freedoms, like using a TV without a licence.

  3. James Pickett


    "The Chinese government never confirmed such a ban even existed"

    So how will they explain the news that it has now been lifted..?

    I wonder if the Dirty Digger will now allow the Beeb back on his Star satellite?

  4. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Tricky..

    No trouble. Just get the department responsible to edit a few old newspapers to show that such a ban *was* imposed by some now-discredited hardliner, showing the lifting of said ban to be an act of munificence by the new, more cuddly types in power these days. Any news organisation that dares to suggest that the evidence is fabricated gets, er, banned.

    Credit to George Orwell for that little trick.

    Off now to post the words "Tibet", "state-sponsored murder" and "dictatorship" in as many places as possible on the BBC's fora (Latin pedants, fill yer boots).

    My apologies to any Chinese who used to enjoy reading El Reg before I said that.

  5. Oli


    Youtube's not blocked in China.

    It was down for a few days last week because of a crackdown on copyrighted videos across a lot of (mostly Chinese) video sites like, but it's back now.

  6. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects


    The People's version has been readily available in a format utilised by some of the most widely read people on the planet.

    OK maybe it loses something in translation but hey, it IS the People's BBCN

  7. Tom Playford

    Never blocked in Shanghai

    Just incase anyone cares, was never blocked in Shanghai. But Shanghai is a rather western Chinese city.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    British ExPat living in China

    Yes, data starts transferring from, but hangs on "waiting for". So still requires Tor (albeit to a lesser extent than before if I bother to un-tor but leave in newsimg) to access the latest news from back home.

  9. Tim J

    BBC working with the Chinese authorities...

    Not sure Steve Herrmann, the Editor of BBC News Online, quite got across the right message when he said:

    "We will endeavour to continue working with the Chinese authorities to improve our access in other areas."

    Perhaps all stories that the BBC thinks the PRC might view as dissenting, destabilising or undermining the regime will have a new HTML tag inserted...

    <PRC_firewall_block_this_page> that the great firewall of China can easily block it out.

    Of course that's not what he meant, but it sure does sound like it. If this was a Murdoch owned enterprise we were talking about instead of the BBC then I would be tempted to suspect such things.

  10. Plecto McLaowei
    Black Helicopters

    horse horse tiger tiger

    @peter: "Although China does have certain freedoms, like using a TV without a licence."

    Not true - I believe you're *supposed* to pay something for the privilege of watching Harmonious Modern Entertainment With A Chinese Character, but I'm not sure how many people actually do...

    @Tom Playford: "Just incase anyone cares, was never blocked in Shanghai"

    Really? I could never access it via my work's network/hotel internet connection/mobile phone (China Mobile)... I think was definitely blocked. worked though...

  11. Mike Richards

    Putting money on...

    ...the service being blocked the day after the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games when the Chinese government don't have to try and play nice any more.

  12. Fred

    @ AC

    How do u get TOR to work properly? far to slow to use...

  13. Adrian Esdaile

    Ever been there?

    "I believe you're *supposed* to pay something for the privilege of watching Harmonious Modern Entertainment With A Chinese Character"

    Yep, they use some Chinese tekernoglical thingimywosit called a 'satelite dish', which translates into English as 'satelite dish'. Pretty much everyone has one, though I'm sure a whole bunch of them are bootleg receivers; I don't believe this has sent Mr. Murdoch to the dole queue quite yet though.

    In 2002 during the World Cup I recall pretty much everywhere had western satellite TV - I relied heavily on BBC world for weather reports as the local CCTV weather reports were, predictably, in Mandarin. BBC news was uncensored as far as I could tell, even in out-of-the-way places like Maanshan, Anhui. Never had a problem with there either, though I was using my own laptop, and Maanshan is only 500km from Shanghai.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Fred

    Firefox with foxyproxy addon. So only use Tor for sites I tell it to. Slow when using Tor, a little, but better slow than blocked.

  15. Long Fei
    Thumb Up


    Indeed, it is available. However, I was always confused because CNN has never been blocked (apart from once or twice for about half an hour) and others, such as Sky news has also always been readily available.

    Hotels in China have special licenses to show certain channels. You are able to get sat too, as long as you have a special licence, or the cops don't see your dish, or you have a good contact. Guanxi rules in China. ;)

  16. Fred

    @ AC

    Ah right cool... thanks.

    have it set up like u said. cheers.

  17. Graham Jordan


    i run a website,

    Small music website it is. Its blocked in United Emirates. Apparently our religious view is that of hatred.

    Its my proudest achievement ever.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    From a representative of the PRC

    Now your British Propaganda Corporation can be received here in China. British propaganda very good quality, perhaps our people can learn how to improve ours to compete better, not just here at home, but on the global stage. Competition good, no? How about you now getting off our backs?

    - Wu Ming

  19. Mike VandeVelde

    re: expediency

    <cue yakov smirnoff impersonation>

    In "democratic" Vietnam, monks have to kill themselves! (ba-dum-dum-ping!)


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