back to article China blocks access to website hosting code-for-kids tool Scratch and its forums

China appears to have blocked access to the website of coding-for-kids tool Scratch. Users of the tool inside the Great Firewall noticed they can’t access the site since mid-August. The site is a prime location from which to download Scratch, but the tool is open source so is also available on GitHub, as a packaged download …

  1. Adelio

    Any country that is so intollerant of Criticism that they have to block ALL speach is a country afraid and not worth living in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Any country that is so intollerant of Criticism that they have to block ALL speach is a country afraid and not worth living in."

      What about a country where around 50%(*) of it is intolerant of criticism, what then?

      (* Of course, just like the old marketing adage, I just can't tell you *which* 50% that is... )

      A/C.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Indeed. Unfortunately, there are over a billion people who, right now, don't have the choice.

  2. Nifty Bronze badge

    Travelling in China years ago, I'd already noticed random sites being blocked that contained essential how-to info. That was before Google was blocked completely.

    Apparently the Great Firewall blockage and capriciousness is now many times worse. There will come a time when Great Firewall friction and the burden of the surveillance state cause the Chinese economy to seriously stagnate. Contrary to popular belief China isn't half of the world's economy yet, it still needs to share and exchange knowledge with the world to thrive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don’t think that the objective is to make China’s economy good for its people.

      It’s amusing that the current CCP is trying so hard to pretend that they are solely responsible for China’s success. In the 1970s some former leaders decided to reach out to the world... and it worked well, as it has done for many countries around the globe.

      Maybe we should focus investments on more deserving Governments? India has been a stable and friendly democracy over many years, for example.

      1. Nathar Leichoz

        You've got a lot of "investing" to do if you pick India. Did you know that the average literacy rate in India is lower than Kenya, Sudan, Cambodia, etc.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "India has been a stable and friendly democracy over many years, for example"

        But Modi is working hard to make it more alike China....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quote: "Maybe we should focus investments on more deserving Governments?"

    *

    China's success has NOTHING to do with "deserving". It has everything to do with providing goods at "the lowest cost"....and the insatiable western appetite for "low cost". Just look at Apple.

    *

    Until this problem is fixed, China has no need to worry about it's clients moving to India....or anywhere else!

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      "low cost"

      Sometimes I wonder just how much of the manufacturing that happens in China is actually economical and profit generating.

      I know that the postage rates are skewed against other country's postal systems, but when you can buy cheap tat direct from China with free postage at less than the price it would cost to merely ship it within the UK, you have to wonder whether there is some Chinese subsidy in the system, either explicit or implicit, designed to make sure that low-cost manufacturing is killed in other countries.

      In the past, when China was emerging from it's shell and did not allow currency exchange, I always had the opinion that it was being done to enable China to get foreign currencies. You know, pay the workers and materials in Yuan which have no value outside of China, and sell in dollars and pounds, but surely we're way past that point now.

      1. llaryllama

        Re: "low cost"

        Thank you for pointing out something that has bugged me for years, yet very few people know about it.

        China, through clever manipulation of the Universal Postal Union, continues to declare itself a third world country when it comes to international last-mile delivery rates.

        UPU rules were designed with a commendably egalitarian mindset, which is that poor countries should be able to send mail to rich countries and vice versa at rates affordable to citizens on both sides. That means it could send US$30 to send a small packet from the US to Papua New Guinea but it only costs $2 to ship the other way. There's a complicated system of rules and agreements but it basically means rich countries like the US subsidize mail delivery for poorer countries.

        The issue with China is that they claim to be a first world superpower that's responsible enough to sit at all the Big Boy's tables for shaping global policies, but when it's convenient claims to be a dirt poor third world nation who needs all the subsidies they can get.

        End result is that sellers in the 2nd richest country in the world by nominal GDP can ship a Box of Tat for less than $2 across the world to the US or UK while it would cost $20 or $30 to go the other way. It costs the UK and US a lot more than $2 to delivery that package at the final mile due to higher wages, environmental standards, overall costs of living etc. etc. In fact as you point out it's a lot more expensive to ship the same box from London to Liverpool or New York to LA. So western countries are subsidizing those shipments through national taxes for Tat Sellers in China to put local companies out of business.

        It's crazy I tells ya!!

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: "low cost"

          "It's crazy I tells ya!!"

          It's so crazy that one has to thank Trump of all people for ranting and raving about it...

          https://time.com/5687134/trump-universal-postal-union-deal/

          https://www.upu.int/UPU/media/upu/publications/Option_V_factsheet.pdf

        2. Nifty Bronze badge

          Re: "low cost"

          Could you provide more details on how that clever manipulation works?

          I'd understood it was due to the extraordinary laziness of Western countries that no reform happened yet.

          1. llaryllama

            Re: "low cost"

            There are 170 UPU member nations with voting rights. Many of those member nations are open to "persuasion" and China is extremely good at carrot & stick diplomacy. One of the reasons for China's big push into Africa is that a relatively small overall investment buys you dozens of friends whenever important votes come up at UN bodies.

            But yes, a very large share of the blame goes to Western politicians who have given China a free ride to help their own interests. And of course not forgetting American Joe Public who can't get enough of all that Cheap Tat.

            The plug was finally pulled at the end of 2019 after the US threatened to pull out of the postal union entirely. If that's what it takes to get something changed then there's obviously a lot more going on than a bit of political laziness.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually the reasons for investing in China were a mixture of Political (break up Communist powers), Economic (lots of people to sell to), Exploitative (lots of people to build our stuff), and yes... Altruistic (there were a lot of people suffering under Mao - many who escaped and became US voters).

      We should look elsewhere in the world to source our stuff now. There’s this big place called Africa that deserves a chance to grow some Silicon Fabs...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC - Sorry!

        African people have already been enslaved.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: @AC - Sorry!

          And now it's China's turn to stitch them up with Belt and Road Initiative Debt Trap

      2. Nathar Leichoz

        Is now really a good time to enter Africa? Especially considering all that the BLM protests have revealed?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone appears to have ignited the Great Firewall with Hong-Kong-related post

    can someone please insert a HK-related post somewhere in China to make China block China?

    1. adrian727

      Re: Someone appears to have ignited the Great Firewall with Hong-Kong-related post

      They do that everyday with better precision, deleting forum posts, search results or people directly

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Someone appears to have ignited the Great Firewall with Hong-Kong-related post

      I'll add it to my home page. It really helps keep the botnets away.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could we just

    keep children out of this, please ? I hate when they're used as a weapon, shield, bargaining chip etc.

  6. karlkarl Silver badge

    For "learning", it is actually quite a good lesson to realise that the internet isn't always going to be accessible.

    So for later life they can learn to not use IDEs with DRM (Microsoft Visual Studio), don't use toolchains that favor online distribution (Microsoft Visual C++), don't rely on software with tonnes of dependencies (NPM, Cargo, PIP, etc), don't use provisioning systems with DRM (Xbox Live Arcade, iOS) and just try to be a bit self sufficient!

    Important lessons to learn if you want a robust career.

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