back to article China’s GitHub clone makes all repos private pending mysterious ‘review’

China’s approved GitHub clone, Gitee, has warned users that it will make all existing repositories private pending a mysterious review of their content. Gitee offers Git and Apache Subversion as a service. But while GitHub has occasionally been banned in China, Gitee was anointed as China’s designated open source development …

  1. b0llchit Silver badge


    Perfectly reasonable action - for China. They must ensure the removal of all Winnie the Pooh references?

    Mine is securely encrypted... using ROT13.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Big Brother


    They're checking subversion for subversive content?

    (yes, I know, I know...)

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Presumably

      They are placing explosives around the trunk so they can terminate commits.

  3. Zbig

    Gitee != Gitea

    That name gets confusingly close to Gitea - a very nice, open-source, self-hosted repository software. I wonder which came first.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Maybe there are limits to what can be Open - I'd guess the Chinese authorities might not be too happy about roll-your-own VPNs, encryption etc.

  5. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Eight million users...?

    So how many repositories will they have to review...?

    1. Law

      They claimed to have 10 million repos and 5 million users just 2 years ago, so presumably quite a few.

      How many of those 10 million were public I've no idea - seems hard to find any stats for the service.

  6. oldtaku Silver badge

    It's definitely the second - probably especially about Shanghai

    Chinese citizens have been sharing stories that get immediately censored on news or socials via git. Like when officials beat up an old lady to take her property, the usual stuff that happens every day. Or right now, how bad the Shanghai covid lockdown really is and how incompetent the government's response has been - Shanghai has a lot of tech savvy people.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have to be logged in

    The message I get, when I try to visit one of my Gitee repositories in an incognito window, is that you have to be logged in to see this repository, unless the author registers it for review of anonymous access.

    It does not say you have to be logged in as the author (like Github private repositories), but you have to be logged in as somebody.

    I suppose I ought to figure out how to register for that review then (sigh).

    My Gitee repositories are straight-up mirrors of my Github repositories, which I put up as a service to the ordinary Chinese citizen in the event of Github being banned in their country. Whether that will stick or not remains to be seen. (I also have mirrors on GitLab and Bitbucket, hopefully one of them might be reachable. Well originally I set up those mirrors because I didn't know what was going to happen after the Microsoft takeover, but it's the same principle. Thankfully Linus Torvalds designed Git in such a way that mirroring is actually quite easy once it's been set up: you simply have multiple destinations for the "git push" command. I do feel a little bit bad about having to take up more data centre energy than necessary though.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have to be logged in

      Git clone from the command line still works. It is only the browser version that is blocked.

      Well that's a relief. Maybe they think people who use git clone from the command line are sensible programmers and don't need as much supervision as people who use web browsers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have to be logged in

      Turns out it still works in Lynx too. It's only if the user agent is set to Mozilla that the blocked message is served. (That might be an SEO thing, or maybe they're being exceptionally nice to Lynx users.)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With the Chinese government pulling the strings, all bets are off as to the real reason it is being done. Someone may have heard a rumour of stolen code being hosted, or of cracking utilities being hosted, or other black/grey (for China, mind you) market software sources.

    They may even have just ticked off enough corporate owners who have connections in the government to trigger an "audit" with vague accusations of code theft or some such.

    In the end, I'm sure we won't know the truth, even if the Chinese media chooses to publish an article "explaining" the situation.

    1. sarusa Silver badge

      That's too complicated

      No, it's just that people have been sharing how things actually are on github repositories, and Panda Boy and the rest of his totalitarian dictatoriship don't want anyone to know how things actually are. That defeats the entire point of having millions of censors.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back to normal now?

    Today I found that I am once again able to access my Gitee repositories anonymously in a graphical browser i.e. the block has been lifted.

    I tested this both from my normal UK IP address and tunnellung via a China IP address on a friend's Aliyun instance where I have an SSH login.

    I had not submitted my repositories for anonymous-access review (it was impossible to do so as my Gitee account has no China phone number on it), so either they reviewed me anyway or they've now figured out how to make the block more specific. Or perhaps this lifting of the block was in error: time will tell if it gets reinstated I suppose. I haven't seen any announcements.

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