Chinese Government Blocks IPVM

By: Charles Rollet, Published on Oct 22, 2018

IPVM has been blocked by the Chinese government without any notice or explanation. This means IPVM.com is no longer officially accessible anywhere in China.

ipvm banned 2

The move comes as Hikvision and Dahua face a global pushback over their track record on human rights, cybersecurity, and Chinese government ties – pressure that is in part motivated by IPVM’s reporting.

In this note, we examine what happened, possible reasons for the ban, China’s extensive system of censorship, and what this means for IPVM going forward.

Ban Confirmed

IPVM discovered that its website was blocked in China late last week. Accessing IPVM.com in China now directs to a page which makes it appear as if IPVM is down or having server problems:

This is a “typical message for a blocked site” said GreatFire.org, a China-based organization that monitors Chinese online censorship. GreatFire confirmed to IPVM that its website is now “100% blocked in China,” as demonstrated by GreatFire’s China block tester.

Blocked sites in China do not show any official signs of being blocked, something done to mislead Chinese netizens into thinking the sites are simply not working rather than being censored, according to GreatFire.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

No Explanation Nor Warning Given

The Chinese government did not give IPVM any notice or explanation for the ban. IPVM requested comment from the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the government entity responsible for blocking sites, but received no reply.

“There is no appeals process,” GreatFire said, while “typically, nobody receives notice of a block.”

IPVM Now Behind Great Firewall

China’s government runs an extensive online censorship system known as “The Great Firewall”. Around 10,000 domain names are blocked under the system, according to GreatFire, including almost all Western social media companies – such as Facebook and Twitter – and Google, Gmail, and YouTube.

IPVM now joins a long list of foreign media outlets blocked by the Chinese government, including the New York Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, the BBC, and the Wall Street Journal. Some of these outlets were blocked as retaliation for specific reporting.

As an example, Bloomberg was blocked in China in 2012 right after it reported on the massive wealth held by relatives of President Xi Jinping. The South China Morning Post, based in Hong Kong, was blocked after reporting that a prominent Communist Party official’s son used his father’s connections to make a fortune.

China World’s Worst For Internet, Media Freedom

China is ruled by the Communist Party, which exercises “unchecked authority” to determine all the country’s media coverage; consequently, China has no independent media and very strict internet controls.

According to a study by the think tank Freedom House, China has the world’s least internet freedom; press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranks China 176 out of 180 countries on its media freedom index.

Possible Explanations for IPVM Getting Blocked

The most plausible reason for IPVM's block is our critical reporting about major Chinese video surveillance manufacturers Hikvision and Dahua, such as:

This coverage has been impactful, directly resulting in:

  • Hikvision and Dahua being targeted for US sanctions due to their massive Xinjiang projects
  • The removal of Hikvision cameras at the Kabul embassy amid cybersecurity/espionage concerns
  • The removal of Hikvision cameras from the GSA website
  • IPVM’s reporting getting cited by mainstream media, such as the Wall Street Journal (which interviewed IPVM founder John Honovich) and the Australian Broadcasting Network (which mentioned IPVM’s Hikvision minority analytics post)

No Way To Know For Sure

While the Chinese government will not explain, James Liebold, a professor at Australia’s La Trobe University and expert on the Xinjiang region, believes that IPVM’s Xinjiang coverage may have pushed Chinese authorities over the edge, explaining:

Critical international reporting and the exposure of human rights abuses in China, as well as the complicity of Chinese and international business in these abuses of power, have pushed the Party-state to try and wrestle back control of the narrative, by both censoring critical content and spewing forth pro-Party propaganda

China has recently gone on a public relations offensive about Xinjiang, claiming that the mass detention of civilians in re-education camps is for their own good.

IPVM Going Forward

China’s ban will unquestionably limit IPVM readers’ access in China.

China-based readers can still use VPN (virtual private network) apps to bypass the Great Firewall and access IPVM and the other thousands of global sites blocked within China. However, China began been cracking down on VPNs this year, making it more difficult for netizens to access non-censored websites.

However, IPVM will continue its independent critical coverage of the industry.

5 reports cite this report:

Hikvision And Dahua Sanctioned For Human Rights Abuses on Oct 07, 2019
In a groundbreaking move that will have drastic consequences across the video surveillance market, Dahua and Hikvision have been sanctioned by the...
Hikvision's Government Owner Website Blocked To World on Jul 11, 2019
Hikvision's PRC government owner, CETHIK, has had its website blocked outside of China, hiding a major information source proving Hikvision's...
Hanwha Moves Global Manufacturing From China To Vietnam - Factory Visit Report on Mar 05, 2019
In a Vietnamese industrial zone surrounded by rice fields and small countryside towns, Hanwha Techwin has started a factory that produces most of...
Evidence of Dahua's Involvement In Xinjiang Surveillance on Nov 28, 2018
IPVM adds new details about Dahua’s activities in Xinjiang, a Chinese region where mass surveillance used to facilitate grave human rights...
World’s Top Press Freedom Watchdog RSF Condemns China's IPVM Block on Oct 26, 2018
Reporters Without Borders, the world’s top press freedom watchdog, has condemned IPVM getting blocked in China after its critical reporting of...
Comments (59) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on China

Hikvision CEO And Vice-Chair Under PRC Government Investigation on Nov 14, 2019
In a surprising and globally covered move, Hikvision CEO Hu Yangzhong and Vice-Chairman Gong Hongjia are being investigated by China's securities...
Hikvision Global News Reports Directory on Nov 11, 2019
Hikvision has received the most global news reporting of any video surveillance company, ever, ranging from the WSJ, the Financial Times, Reuters,...
Hikvision Markets Uyghur Ethnicity Analytics, Now Covers Up on Nov 11, 2019
Hikvision has marketed an AI camera that automatically identifies Uyghurs, on its China website, only covering it up days ago after IPVM questioned...
US Issues Criminal Charges For Fraudulently Selling Hikvision And Other China Products on Nov 07, 2019
The US government has made an unprecedented move on the video surveillance supply chain, charging a US company, Aventura for "having conspired with...
Senator Vitter Becomes "Proud Member Of The Hikvision Team", Calls Out "Anti-China" Rubio on Oct 29, 2019
Senator turned China lobbyist David Vitter has become a self-proclaimed 'proud member of the Hikvision team', a China (PRC) government-owned...
Dahua Co-Founder Says Human Rights Sanctions Shows Strong Dahua Technology on Oct 29, 2019
Despite Dahua doing nearly a billion dollars of projects in Xinjiang, including building and operating police stations, Dahua not only denies 'any...
Covert Elevator Face Recognition on Oct 24, 2019
Covert elevator facial recognition has the potential to solve the cost and complexity of elevator surveillance while engendering immense privacy...
Government-Owned Hikvision Wants To Keep Politics Out Of Security on Oct 21, 2019
'Politics' made Hikvision the goliath it is today. It was PRC China 'politics' that created Hikvision, funded it, and blocked its foreign...
US DoD Comments on Huawei, Hikvision, Dahua Cyber Security Concerns on Oct 16, 2019
A senior DoD official said the US is "concerned" with the cybersecurity of Hikvision, Dahua, and Huawei due to "CCP" (China Communist Party)...
Hikvision Dissolves North American Business Unit, Splits Canada and USA on Oct 15, 2019
Hikvision has dissolved its North American Business Unit, splitting up US and Canada operations as the PRC-government owned manufacturer faces...

Most Recent Industry Reports

ADT Stock Surges - "Leading The Commercial Space" on Nov 15, 2019
Don't call it comeback... but maybe call it a commercial provider. ADT, whose stock dropped by as much as 2/3rds since IPOing in 2018, has now...
Gatekeeper Security Company Profile - Detecting Faces Inside Vehicles on Nov 14, 2019
Border security is a common discussion in mainstream US news and politics, as is the use of banned Chinese equipment by US Government agencies....
Hikvision CEO And Vice-Chair Under PRC Government Investigation on Nov 14, 2019
In a surprising and globally covered move, Hikvision CEO Hu Yangzhong and Vice-Chairman Gong Hongjia are being investigated by China's securities...
Camera Field of View (FoV) Guide on Nov 13, 2019
Field of View (FoV) and Angle of View (AoV), are deceptively complex. At their most basic, they simply describe what the camera can "see" and seem...
UK Big Brother Watch: Hikvision Is 'Morally Bankrupt' on Nov 13, 2019
UK civil liberties advocate Big Brother Watch has condemned Hikvision as being 'morally bankrupt' following IPVM exposing Hikvision marketing...
Color Low Light Mega Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Speco, Sony, Vivotek on Nov 12, 2019
This is the biggest color low light shootout ever, testing 20+ super low light models from 10 manufacturers: Increasingly, each manufacturer...
Wireless / WiFi Access Lock Guide on Nov 12, 2019
For some access openings, running wires can add thousands in cost, and wireless alternatives that avoid it becomes appealing. But using wireless...
Hikvision Global News Reports Directory on Nov 11, 2019
Hikvision has received the most global news reporting of any video surveillance company, ever, ranging from the WSJ, the Financial Times, Reuters,...
Hikvision Markets Uyghur Ethnicity Analytics, Now Covers Up on Nov 11, 2019
Hikvision has marketed an AI camera that automatically identifies Uyghurs, on its China website, only covering it up days ago after IPVM questioned...
Open vs End-to-End Systems: Integrator Statistics 2019 on Nov 11, 2019
Preference for open systems is on the decline, according to new IPVM statistics. We asked integrators: For video surveillance systems, do you...