A number of CPJ sources say that we have been blocked throughout the country for many years. Within the past week, we confirmed the lack of national access with several sources and by running an electronic access check. One exception: I could call up cpj.org from a top Beijing business hotel in August of last year.
I'm in Hong Kong this year after the government refused to issue CPJ a visa. Today, I checked on access to cpj.org with several U.S. journalists working inside and outside the Main Press Center (MPC) for the Olympics.
Four sources told us that cpj.org is blocked within the Main Press Center, and a fifth said it was not available from within the Beijing Media International Center, BIMC, the workspace for non-accredited journalists. We also found a couple of exceptions: One source working at an office outside the main press venues could access our site; and one source at the Main Press Center could also see us.
Of course, many media companies use proxy servers, altered Internet addresses, or other strategies to tunnel around the firewall and gain access to banned sites. Here are some responses to our survey about access.
From inside the MPC: "Your site appears to be blocked in
One gave a flat: "No, it is not accessible inside the MPC."
From a Beijing-based editor working at an office outside the official press venues: "It's been available since the brouhaha last week. I can get everything except Falun Gong and some Tibet sites." The person said they were not using a proxy server at their office. The follow-up question: How about inside the MPC? They had to check: "Bob, how bizarre, my colleague inside the Main Press Center says the only one they can get is Amnesty [International]. Can't get cpj.org. ..."
From within the Beijing Media International Center, or BIMC, the workspace for non-accredited journalists, an editor gave a checklist of what's available:
"www.freetibet.org - no.
www.cpj.org - no.
www.amnesty.org - yes
www.dreamfordarfur.org - no."
For information on how to circumvent online censorship, check out citizenlab's guidebook in pdf.