China blocks access to website hosting code-for-kids tool Scratch and its forums

Someone appears to have ignited the Great Firewall with Hong-Kong-related post

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China appears to have blocked access to the website of coding-for-kids tool Scratch.

Users of the tool inside the Great Firewall noticed they can’t access the site since mid-August. The site is a prime location from which to download Scratch, but the tool is open source so is also available on GitHub, as a packaged download elsewhere. Scratch’s own data suggests it has millions of users in China, so it is hard to imagine its source code is not already available in China.

So China has almost certainly not made it impossible to access the tool.

But blocking the site means that even those who are running Scratch will struggle to access the many projects and code samples stored at scratch.mit.edu/. Access to the forums at the site will also be hard.

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And that may be the point of the block, because posts such as this suggest that videos opposed to Beijing’s recently-introduced laws altering Hong Kong’s governance have appeared in the forums.

China is not keen to have its citizens, including young netizens, encounter views on such things that run counter to its official version of events. ®

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