Google is reportedly being blocked in China as the country approaches the anniversary of the Tienanmen Square uprising.
Multiple sources report blocking of Google services
While the communist country has not confirmed the censorship, CNET.com is reporting that since last week, Chinese regulators have stopped several of Google’s applications, including its email, search and other applications. Many users inside China have reported Google’s services being unavailable from last week as well.
Google has a volatile relationship with China, highlighted by Google’s leaving the nation for Hong Kong in the face of government censorship. Moving outside Chinese borders allowed Google to operate its service without restriction, but as evidenced from this reported blockage, China can still control content that enters into its borders.
The blockage comes as the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre approaches June 4. In the event, large numbers of unarmed protesters were arrested, injured or killed. China has a track record of censorship ahead around the anniversary of the protest. The events of the 1989 event have been banned from educational text books and Chinese websites. the exact death toll from the protests remains unknown. The crackdown left 500 to 2,600 dead, according to Tiananmen Square, 1989: The Declassified History, published by the George Washington University’s National Security Archive. China’s official death toll is 246.
Arrested for being profiled in newspaper
Protesters in China can find themselves in trouble even if they don’t directly protest. Guo Jian, a Chinese-born Australian artist and former protester, was arrested by authorities after a profile appeared about him and commemoration of the Tienanmen square protest appeared in the Financial Times newspaper. The Associated Press is reporting that Jian could be released June 15 – well after the anniversary is complete.
Jian’s arrest is the latest in a string of detentions of lawyers, teachers, artists, journalists and scholars as the Tienanmen Square anniversary approaches. The government is said to be engaging in intense efforts to limit foreign media coverage of the event as well.
China is applying censorship pressure to Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU), a large Chinese search engine, as well as Weibo Corp (ADR) (NASDAQ:WB) and others, according to the CNET report. Some US web sites that don’t need to worry about a Chinese crackdown include Google’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Each one of these web sites have been previously banned in the country.