The third block began on October 19, 2005, and once again there is no indication as to whether this block is temporary or permanent, or what the reasons or causes for this block are.
In response to the block, the Main Page of the Chinese Wikipedia added a message at the top directing any Mainland China user who succeeds in getting through to a special status page. According to the status page, the Florida and Korea servers are blocked, while the Paris and Amsterdam servers are not.
Dozens of editors from across Mainland China have reported on the talk page of the status page that they can only access Wikipedia using proxy servers. So far, only a few Mainland China users have sporadically reported being able to get through without using a proxy or some other circumventing technique.
Initially, some Hong Kong users also reported problems, such as being led to the error page of Wikimedia, raising fears that the central government is censoring the Internet in Hong Kong despite the fact that internet censorship laws in Mainland China do not apply to Hong Kong or Macau. However, users from Toronto and New York reported the same problem, and access returned to normal in Hong Kong soon after. It is now believed that the problems experienced by Hong Kong users were due to Wikimedia server outages at about the same time the block occurred.
On October 21, Shizhao once again submitted an appeal to his ISP, and stated, “If nothing goes wrong, the block should be lifted within one week.” On October 24, Shizhao posted, “The block will be lifted by Wednesday [October 26]. According to procedure (the details of which are unknown), after the appeal is submitted, a reply will come within 3 business days, and my appeal has already been submitted by the ISP on Friday. My ISP has said that so far they haven’t encountered a case where an appeal has failed. This should be good news, but it’s still impossible to know the reason for the block.”
The appeal submitted strove to be closer to the position of the Chinese government than the first appeal submitted in 2004. It stated, “… [t]he most effective approach is not to reject [this project] outside our borders, but to participate in it actively. If we block Wikipedia, we lose the opportunity to speak with the world with a Chinese voice, and allow forces such as evil cults and Taiwanese independence control the development of content in the project, thus presenting to the world a twisted [image of] China; as users, we lose a channel through which we could access knowledge, a channel whose importance is rising constantly; such an act [i.e. blocking] is no different from cutting away our own voice and tongue, or shutting our own eyes and ears; it is isolationism in the age of the Internet.” (Original text)
In the morning of October 31, 2005, Chinese Standard Time (UTC +8), Wikipedians from all parts of mainland China began to report that they could access Wikipedia without using proxies. It was initially thought that the block had indeed been lifted, but later on the apparent “unblocking” was linked to the deployment of an LVS load balancer in front of the squid in the Korean server cluster, which changed the IP address of Wikimedia sites for users in China, thus circumventing the block. In any case, within a few hours normal access to Wikipedia was once again impossible.
As of December 14, the block has not yet been lifted. Chinese Wikipedians have expressed fears about the detrimental effects that a permanent ban would have. First of all, the block deprives a useful resource from the majority of Chinese speakers in the world. Moreover, since Mainland Chinese form a significant fraction of the Chinese Wikipedia community (46% of all users in March 2005), a long-term block could severely stunt the growth of Wikipedia similar to the block in June 2004. Finally, as the presence of contributors from multiple communities and viewpoints has helped in ensuring neutrality in some controversial topics (e.g. Taiwanese independence), the sudden removal of one community could exacerbate systemic bias on the Chinese Wikipedia.
There has been much speculation over the cause of the block. Possible reasons offered include controversial articles in Wikipedia itself and recent controversial events in the news that Wikipedia has covered, though as of now none of these is confirmed.