The earthquake broke my internet

There was recently an earthquake in Taiwan which destroyed the key nodes in China’s trans-Pacific internet connection. As a result, most traffic between China and the US on the internet has slowed to a near-impossible crawl. Fortunately Google (and Gmail) still work.

This means I won’t be updating this blog much until it’s fixed. It means ChinesePod has quite a headache (our servers are in the US). It means it’s going to be a lot harder to get good material from my critical discourse analysis presentation next week. (We had wanted to use American presidential campaign videos or presidential speeches as source materials.)

Life goes on. In the meantime I’ll probably read more (books!) and get more sleep. Frightening. (My only other alternative is to make due with the Chinese internet, and I really don’t see that happening.)

[More news on this internet-shattering earthquake event]

John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. time to think about REAL things in life!

  2. Word. That earthquake was a God-send. We have been quaking here in earthquake country (California) with small 3.X richter scale quakes… enough to jarr people and the line at Blockbuster video sure enough. You know we’re 6 years past the “big one” estimations that we had back in 1989 on the large scale earthquake in the Bay Area (World Series Oakland A’s vs. San Francisco Giants) … Check out ORANGE OCTOBER on RACINGMIX for the backstory on that. Anyways, back to the relaxing from the internet lifestyle – good for you, bro. Get your mind and eyes away from the life-robbing computer.

  3. Why is it that Google and Gmail don’t seem affected? Do they have mirrors in China?

  4. Odd, a friend down in Fuzhou is having the same hassle, but up here in Beijing the only site I haven’t been able to get to is the NZ Herald. Everything else is working fine for me. Especially strange considering when I lived in Taiyuan and that idiot fisherman dredged up the cable off Shanghai my internet died almost completely for two weeks. Are we so special here in Beijing that we get our own earthquake proof access to the outside world?

  5. I didn’t feel the quake and the internet here doesn’t seem to have been affected at all. But I agree that being internetless, while inconvenient, has it’s upside. Happy 元旦!

  6. Weird… I’m in Taiwan, and my internet is still rockin’ at its usual 8mb/second. It’s a good thing, too… I download most of my books, these days.

  7. I think the whole Google network has mirrors in China, including blogger.

  8. I’d really like to understand the whole Google thing. I did a traceroute right after the quake and found that most of the US Google sites (Gmail, Finance, Froogle, etc) were not being mirrored – rather, they were being routed through Germany instead of across the Pacific (with really good response times too).

    What I don’t understand is how is it that only Google is routed that way? Did they cut some special deal with the Chinese backbone providers to set up a special IP routing? Did the backbone provider do it on their own so as to centralize Net Nanny’s Google filtering?

    Any techies out there?

  9. I’m in Beijing by the way. Most people’s connection in Beijing is totally dead, especially if you are using CNC. However, a few people / businesses with different providers still have good access.

  10. ‘The earthquake broke my Internet’…

    "La vida sigue, así leeré más libros y dormiré algo más". Así se expresa John, el blogger de Sinosplice, uno de los blogs más populares en China, acerca de los efectos causados en La Red por el terremoto que el martes sacudió Taiwan meneame.n…

  11. Is that ‘our ‘ DD or another one?

  12. Well… At least you got a blog to write. No luck for me, as my blog is in US server. Yeah, can’t hook on the Internet make me have more time for other things.

    Anyway, if it possible to to re-route our connection to US websites?

  13. In Beijing, I believe I use CNC. I was just able to access John’s blog today. Chinesepod will sometimes load, very slowly. Downloading anything from their is impossible. and are the only foreign websites that I can access.

    If anyone would be willing to send “Parent Child Argument” and “Directions with a Map” podcasts to my gmail I would greatly appreciate it. (lorean AT

    Maybe a few of us could torrent recent podcasts in China until this is over. Assuming the folks at Cpod would be okay with this.

  14. Yeah, I’m reading Anna Karenina.

    Instead of blogs. And useful news.

    It’s good? But I’m getting sick of having only access to gmail and google. Eventually I need to do things, like pay bills. And update my own blog. Having someone in the US do it for me is a pain.

  15. I seem to able to access my site and some other sites with US-based servers if I go online late at night. During the day it’s still hopeless.

  16. im feeling it here in northern shenyang too, I thought it was a chinese virus(no not SARS). Ive being trying to fix the internet for hours.

  17. Hey John, just FYI… it’s 11:20 am on the last day of the year and I can access your site here in Suzhou… as well as download my 100+ e-mails from the past three days… bah!

    The blackout has forced me into reading China Daily for a feeling that I have some connection to the outside world and on their forums they reported it could be up to three weeks (with gradual increases in service) before things are completely repaired.

    Bah again. It’s an odd thing being able to watch (via Google Adsense) people visiting your site, but not being able to access it yourself.

  18. Seems to be better today in QD – not quite 100%, ill give it 85%.

  19. EMAIL – I’d guess that one of the first things that the China network administrators were able to do is re-configure their directory servers to route email and Google to servers with lines that had capacity to overseas pipes. Smaller sites however have been left un-rerouted and just continue to bottleneck at servers that have no bandwidth.

    They also seem to have gotten MSN up. These two changes placate most of their internal China users who depend on email for overseas business communication and the large group of MSN users.

    Those of us, however, who want to access overseas sites that aren’t very mainstream (for a typical China user) are out of luck. It’s been a huge crush to my daily routine as I do work thru a U.S based website, which I now cannot access. I have yet to see any China reporter mention the economic costs of this blackout.

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