It's very hard to Sign Up at SE in China, for example, I want to sign up for Mathematica.SE, no matter how many times I try, I just can't use my SE Community account to sign up(The Open ID does not work), however, once you finish signing up, there are no problems to use SE sites.

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migrated from Apr 17 '14 at 3:40

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Just saying it "doesn't work" doesn't help us help you figure out what the problem is. Update your question to tell us if you're getting an error or or anything else that'd help moderators determine what the problem is. – Amal Murali Apr 17 '14 at 3:10
Does work for you? – OneKitten Apr 17 '14 at 3:10
@AmalMurali Question has been edited. – Ave Maleficum Apr 17 '14 at 3:24
@OneKitten All I get is the picture above. – Ave Maleficum Apr 17 '14 at 3:25
@AveMaleficum: how did you sign up before? – OneKitten Apr 17 '14 at 3:27
@OneKitten I used VPN. I think I am not the only Chinese who has this problem. – Ave Maleficum Apr 17 '14 at 3:28
So you aren't able to access in China? Because if you can, then you can sign up to any of the Stack Exchange sites, even without JavaScript. – OneKitten Apr 17 '14 at 3:29
If you've already signed up to a stack exchange site using a non-SE openid (e.g. google openid, or facebook using gmail, etc), then you won't be able to login from China or change your login options from China. However, from outside China (or via VPN, or a hotel that allows google access), you may be able to use a work-around to change your login options; see… . In my experience, though, without the googleapis javascript functionality, stackexchange is non-functional. But if you cache these, SE works (for a while). – michael_n Nov 16 at 3:02

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There is a lot that isn't loading on that page. Most importantly, the scripts aren't loading.

Without more information, I'd be hard-put to say why - but fortunately, you can diagnose this yourself:

  1. Try to load this link: You should see something like this:

    If you get an error message instead, report back with that - it likely indicates what problem you're encountering.

  2. Make sure you aren't running any browser extensions that block or alter the way in which resources such as scripts and styles are loading. If necessary, try a different browser or start your browser's "safe mode" if it has one, and see if that doesn't correct the problem.

  3. If you're using a proxy (such as a VPN service), report this issue to them: they may be able to assist you in finding a solution.

The question's error occurs on all https SE pages (are there any besides login/register?) when accessed from mainland China without a VPN. See my answer for more details. – Esoteric Screen Name May 22 '14 at 3:05

This occurs because of the Great Firewall of China.

The following content on the https pages (sign up and log in; are there others?) is blocked when accessed from mainland China without a VPN:

  • (being unable to load the JavaScript is what causes the strange appearance of the screenshot in the question)
  • OpenID functionality (
  • Facebook functionality
  • Google account functionality (not strictly blocked, but heavily throttled, to the point of being effectively unusable)

Note that the "Welcome back $! You've been logged in. Click here to refresh the page." banner will function correctly even when not on a VPN, presumably because it uses the existing cookie. Obviously this won't help someone trying to make an account or log in for the first time.

Additionally, imgur is also blocked, so any images hosted there will not appear, though this is unrelated to the question at hand.

If you want to log in or sign up on SE from China, you need a VPN. Once you are logged in, you do not need a VPN to use the sites normally (non https pages), unless you log out.

from my experience you don't need a vpn to log in or sign up...see my answer above... – user3306356 May 23 '14 at 4:06
Glad to hear that you were able to get it working. I tried several times both to sign up and log in on various sites and wasn't able to do so without my VPN due to timeout errors. As I mentioned, Google accounts aren't actually blocked, and it sounds like you were able to use yours. – Esoteric Screen Name May 23 '14 at 4:08
I only got it working logging in or signing up through google - everything else is a no go – user3306356 May 23 '14 at 4:09
all google domains are presently 100% blocked in China (over the past 5+ years that I've travelled to China, it's been hit and miss; presently, it's definitely blocked.) This is a known issue with stackexchange sites; there are a lot of questions on it, just not interlinked (and, frustratingly, in my experience, a lot of mod's delete them, saying it's a known problem, not a problem, or "not my problem"). See… – michael_n Nov 12 at 10:38
note that it's not true "you do not need a VPN to use the sites normally"; there is a lot of functionality that is broken when you can't access googleapis javascripts, such as commenting, showing hidden comments, voting, viewing your inbox, etc; see… – michael_n Nov 12 at 10:41

Ave Maleficum you are absolutely right. Trying to sign up or log in has always been an absolute hassle in China; both pages (sign up/log in) never load from the top of the page links. The only thing that I have found to quicken the process is to go into a question - scroll to the bottom - and to log-in (or sign up if it's a new account) through google. I would assume using the facebook and/or stack exchange passport log ins/sign ups would work as well - but I've never tested it myself.

I tried the link that Shog9♦ posted above and it just times out...


I always use VPN/SSH Tunnel to visit SE....

No wonder not many people (except programmers) know about SE in China. – Ave Maleficum Apr 22 '14 at 7:50
What a pity. I am doing my best to spread this great site in China anyway :) – Aw Qirui Guo Apr 22 '14 at 12:08
How exactly are you trying to spread this site? – Ave Maleficum Apr 22 '14 at 14:43
I just tell people when they have actual needs. SE can solve a lot of questions or help a lot of people. It's very positive :) – Aw Qirui Guo Apr 22 '14 at 15:23
You can read SE sites in China, just not participate. – michael_n Nov 12 at 10:43

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