03/05/20 - AO3 Blocked in China

I read today the Archive of Our Own has now been blocked by the Great Firewall and is no longer accessible to users in China. The government has been blacklisting a lot of sites lately but this is the first site I’m familiar with. Reading into it, it appears new Internet laws recently came into effect in China banning a range of content as part of a national censorship program.

So, how do readers and writers in China gain access to the archive? I don’t know. It’s not necessarily as simple as using a VPN. Reading through the comments on AO3’s Weibo and seeing how upset users are and how many are thanking AO3 for providing the creative platform. Mirroring a site like this is non-trivial. What do you do as a fandom? Where do writers share their work now? Silos help you find people, but it also makes it easier for authoritarian governments to block content.

I guess what I’m wondering is how you can play whack-a-mole with the Chinese government and if that would even work.