Things have definitely been getting worse for users of MSN services in China since Microsoft recently shifted its Passport login process to Live.com. Following Global Voices Online blogger Frank Dai's post on this problem two weeks ago, a number of MSN Messenger, Hotmail and MSN Spaces users have started speaking up.
Wen Yunchao—who provides on his MSN Spaces blog, Ramblings of a Drunk, a weekly roundup of all net-based things censored and Chinese—posted recently what he has learned from MSN PR folks and his friends working in IT:
Weekly NetNews, May 11, 2006: Abnormal
Access to MSN Messenger out of the ordinary
从5月8日以来，MSN Messenger无法登录、随时掉线等故障在北京及国内部分城市同时出现。业内人士称，“这种非暂时性的、范围如此之大的服务瘫痪，在MSN进入中国后尚属首次。”MSN相关负责人表示，出现的故障与MSN提供的服务没有任何关系，“主要原因是本地网络接入设备出现问题。MSN目前已经开始调查这个问题，会尽快解决。”MSN Messenger目前在中国有超过1000万的用户，且服务器仍在国外，通讯内容却没有受到中国有关部门的监管，MSN Messenger的异常及近期MSN SPACES的访问不畅，难免引发诸多联想。
Since May 8, MSN Messenger has been unable to be logged in to, randomly disconnecting and otherwise conking out in Beijing and other inland cities. IT professionals say “this is the first time such steady, widespread paralysis of service has been seen since MSN entered China.” MSN spokespeople say the malfunctions seen have nothing to do with the services MSN provides and that “the main reason is the facilities at local networks are running into problems. MSN has already begun to investigate the problem and will fix it as soon as possible.” MSN Messenger has over ten million users in China and their servers are overseas, so transmitted content isn't being surveilled by the respective Chinese departments. MSN Messenger's out-of-the-normality and the recent difficulty in visiting MSN Spaces blogs has inevitably left many people wondering.
Fellow MSN Spaces blogger Tate King posts a more personal perspective:
Why is this
Long time since I could get into MSN; haven't written some things I wanted to. I heard it's because Live.com has been blocked by The Cute Party. It's not easy to find places where there are few sensitive characters and now The Great, Glorious, Faultless Party doesn't let us use this one. What the majority of people support, They oppose. What the people oppose, They insist on maintaining. Why on earth is this??
As lamented on his Sina blog, even singer, racecar driver, post-80s teen author sensation and bluechip blogger Han Han is having MSN trouble these days:
Why can I never log in to MSN? Out comes a line of text which says ‘Sorry, cannot sign in to XXX; please try again later.’ I have a question for XXX: Why? WHY? Y?