China Hijacks Google's Domain Name
Try to access Google's search engine from inside China and there's a good chance you'll instead be sent to Tianwang Search, a search engine operated by China's prestigious Peking University.
Internet users looking to reach Google from inside China are being rerouted to Tianwang, and several other sites like it, after Internet service providers in China hijacked the domain name for the Mountain View, California, Internet search company.
The frequency with which Chinese users have been rerouted to other sites depends on the Internet service provider and the location where the user is accessing the Internet, indicating that traffic to Google is not being rerouted at a national level, according to Duncan Clark, managing director at telecommunication market research company BDA China.
Domain names and URLs are matched to IP addresses using Domain Name System software. When an Internet user types www.google.com, or any other URL, into a browser, a query is sent to the ISP's name server which returns an IP address for the site. ISPs in Beijing and Shanghai have apparently altered those addresses, redirecting traffic to Chinese search sites, Clark said.
"It's not possible for someone else to do this," he said.
The Chinese government has sought to block access to undesirable Web sites using IP filters since commercial Internet access first became available here in 1995. Search engines Google and Altavista are the two latest Web sites to find themselves
Not everyone in China is happy that Internet traffic meant for Google has been rerouted elsewhere. "This is not what Tianwang Search hoped to see," the search engine said in a message posted on its Web site.
China frequently clamps down on foreign media in the run-up to politically sensitive dates and events. With Chinese President Jiang Zemin expected to hand power to a successor at the upcoming Communist Party congress, Internet censors may be trying to tighten control over information available on the Internet.
"It is in violation of the universal approach, changing the
For Chinese users and Google alike, there may be little available recourse, however. "China has not signed any agreement [not to tinker with the DNS system inside China]. No government has. There is no legislation, no mechanism to stop them," Tonkin said.