It is a well known fact that the Chinese government is a big fan of Internet censorship. The “Great Firewall of China” (a system that blocks content by preventing IP addresses from being routed through) has been present for 6 years now.
But, according to Technology Review, this is the first time that the access to Tor, the famous open-source Internet anonymity tool, is being systematically obstructed. It is suspected that this was done as a preparation for China’s 60th National Day (October 1st).
As you may know, the Tor Project publishes Tor’s IP addresses openly, for anyone to see and find, so it was just a matter of time when they would end up blocked. The good news in all of this is that when that happened, a string of volunteers offered their IP addresses to allow users to connect to the Tor network.
The dissemination of these addresses was arranged via instant-messaging, and the Tor Project is planning to make them available through Twitter. The problem with this approach is that you can’t check everyone that asks for them – sooner or later it will be someone from the government on the other end of the line and they will then be able to block those IP addresses, too. That’s why Tor is presently trying to find ways to patch up this flaw in the plan.