Following Major Announcements by Google and Go Daddy Regarding China Services, Hackers Strike Chinese Human Rights Defenders Website

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(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, March 29, 2010) CHRD’s Chinese-language website,, has been rendered inaccessible for more than four days by a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, the worst such attacks in the site’s history. Hackers launched attacks against servers hosting the site beginning March 25, and as of the time of writing, they were still ongoing. CHRD’s website, managed by human rights activists in China, is hosted outside the country by Go Daddy, a US-based company.

As the story of Google’s decision to stop filtering results on its Chinese-language search engine draws international attention to China’s internet censorship policies, these latest attacks highlight the constant threats to grassroots Chinese organizations working to disseminate information online. While CHRD has not yet been able to identify the source of the attacks, based on past experiences the attacks most likely originated in China.

It appears that DDoS attacks are becoming an increasingly popular means of targeting websites operated by Chinese human rights activists. In testimony presented before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China on March 24, Go Daddy’s executive vice president and general counsel Christine N. Jones noted an “increase in the number of DDoS attacks” on their systems, adding that in the first three months of 2010, the company had already “repelled dozens of extremely serious DDoS attacks that appear to have originated in China.” During the question-and-answer session, Jones stated that the attacks targeted, for example, “human rights sites, Tiananmen Square anniversary sites, website blogs that discuss Tibetan monks –any of the things that the Chinese government deems inappropriate.” At the same hearing, Jones announced that Go Daddy would discontinue registering new Chinese (.CN) domain names after the government imposed new guidelines last December requiring detailed identification from individuals before registering. The DDoS attacks on CHRD’s Chinese-language website came one day after Go Daddy’s announcement.

CHRD’s website has been hit by approximately a dozen DDoS attacks in the past, the most recent of which took place on January 23, 2010. During that attack, the Chinese-language website was put out of service for approximately 16 hours. Other websites run by Chinese activists, including Independent Chinese PEN, New Century News (an overseas news site), Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, and Canyu were attacked at the same time.

Press contacts for this release:

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin), +852 8191 6937 or +1 301 547 9286

Jiang Yingying, Researcher (English and Mandarin), +852 8170 0237

For more information, please see:

Five Chinese Activists’ Websites Attacked by Hackers,” January 25, 2010,

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