China accused of disrupting Google services

2014-06-02 13:50
A bouquet of flowers and a message which reads \Google, we will forever love you\ placed outside the Google China headquarters in Beijing, China. (Ng Han Guan, AP, file)

A bouquet of flowers and a message which reads \Google, we will forever love you\ placed outside the Google China headquarters in Beijing, China. (Ng Han Guan, AP, file)

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Beijing - Google services are being disrupted in China ahead of this week's 25th anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators around Beijing's Tiananmen Square, a censorship watchdog said on Monday.

GreatFire.org said in a blog post that the government appeared to have begun targeting Google's main search engine and Gmail, among many other services, since at least last week, making them inaccessible to many users in China.

It added that the last time it monitored such a block was in 2012, when it only lasted 12 hours.

"It is not clear that the block is a temporary measure around the anniversary or a permanent block. But because the block has lasted for four days, it's more likely that Google will be severely disrupted and barely usable from now on", the advocacy group said.

Asked about the disruptions, a Google spokesperson said: "We've checked extensively and there's nothing wrong on our end."

Google's own transparency report, which shows details about its global traffic, showed lower levels of activity from China starting from about Friday, which could indicate a significant amount of disruption.

Censorship

Beijing typically responds to such reports by saying that all internet companies operating in China have to obey the law.

Google in 2010 moved its Chinese search engine service out of China, the world's second-largest economy, citing rampant censorship, and now operates it from Hong Kong.

The Chinese government already blocks the popular foreign websites Facebook, Twitter and Google's own YouTube.

For the ruling Communist Party, the 1989 demonstrations that clogged Tiananmen Square in Beijing and spread to other cities remain taboo, particularly on their 25th anniversary.

The government has detained several activists last month after attending a meeting about the protests, including prominent rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, prompting concern in the United States and Europe.

The anniversary of the date on which troops shot their way into central Beijing in 1989 has never been publicly marked in mainland China, though every year there are commemorations in Hong Kong.

The government has never released a death toll for the crackdown, but estimates from human rights groups and witnesses range from several hundred to several thousand.
Read more on:    google  |  china  |  online security
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