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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  • 2
    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, 2014 at 3:10
  • Does openid.stackexchange.com work for you?
    – OneKitten
    Apr 17, 2014 at 3:10
  • @AmalMurali Question has been edited. Apr 17, 2014 at 3:24
  • @OneKitten All I get is the picture above. Apr 17, 2014 at 3:25
  • @AveMaleficum: how did you sign up before?
    – OneKitten
    Apr 17, 2014 at 3:27
  • @OneKitten I used VPN. I think I am not the only Chinese who has this problem. Apr 17, 2014 at 3:28
  • So you aren't able to access openid.stackexchange.com in China? Because if you can, then you can sign up to any of the Stack Exchange sites, even without JavaScript.
    – OneKitten
    Apr 17, 2014 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 meta.stackexchange.com/questions/793/… . In my experience, though, without the googleapis javascript functionality, stackexchange is non-functional. But if you cache these, SE works (for a while).
    – michael
    Nov 16, 2015 at 3:02
  • It seems you lack of some common sense, GFW ( search to know it ) always exists and nearly all access to stackexchange is forbidden. The answer of @Esoteric Screen Name is best.
    – Voyager
    Feb 22, 2019 at 11:54

4 Answers 4


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: https://cdn.sstatic.net/Js/stub.en.js 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. May 22, 2014 at 3:05
  • Thanks @Cœur, edited
    – Shog9
    Jan 31, 2019 at 17:31

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:

  • https://cdn.sstatic.net/Js/openid.en.js (being unable to load the JavaScript is what causes the strange appearance of the screenshot in the question)
  • OpenID functionality (openid.stackexchange.com)
  • 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...
    – Mou某 Mod
    May 23, 2014 at 4:06
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    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. May 23, 2014 at 4:08
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    I only got it working logging in or signing up through google - everything else is a no go
    – Mou某 Mod
    May 23, 2014 at 4:09
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    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 meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/258288/…
    – michael
    Nov 12, 2015 at 10:38
  • 1
    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 meta.stackexchange.com/questions/96373/…
    – michael
    Nov 12, 2015 at 10:41

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

  • No wonder not many people (except programmers) know about SE in China. Apr 22, 2014 at 7:50
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    What a pity. I am doing my best to spread this great site in China anyway :) Apr 22, 2014 at 12:08
  • How exactly are you trying to spread this site? Apr 22, 2014 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 :) Apr 22, 2014 at 15:23
  • You can read SE sites in China, just not participate.
    – michael
    Nov 12, 2015 at 10:43

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 https://cdn.sstatic.net/Js/openid.en.js link that Shog9♦ posted above and it just times out...

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