Is YouTube blocking coverage of the riots in Tibet?

June 14, 2008

On June 1, 2008, while testing website blocking by the mainland Chinese government (for a university research project on the political implications of peer-to-peer publishing technologies), I came across something unusual for which I needed independent verification. I added this post to the blog of Nart Villeneuve, a researcher with the Open Net Initiative:

I’ve recently noticed that videos of these riots which are available on YouTube from outside the Chinese firewall are replaced by a message, generated by YouTube, which reads “We’re sorry, this video is no longer available”. For example, see the video at

I did my test with a couple of proxy servers within China on June the 1st. It is possible that YouTube is not blocking this video (and others like it) but that the firewall, while letting this page through its filters, is blocking the video feed into the page.

Something to investigate? I might very well be wrong about all this. Hell, I probably am!

Please let me know.


Nart replicated the apparent blocking the following day. Interesting. It's unclear whether YouTube or the Chinese government is responsible