China blocks Google website
Google's global website was blocked in China on Wednesday night, marking an escalation in Beijing's unprecedented crackdown on the world's leading search engine company.
Attempts to access Google.com and Gmail from different computers in Beijing started failing after 9pm local time, but the websites could be accessed through proxy servers – normally a sign that a website is being blocked by internet censors. The service in Beijing at least was back after two hours.
The blocking came after Google appeared to resist an earlier order to restrict access to foreign websites through Google.cn, its local website.
People's Daily, the Communist party mouthpiece, and Xinhua, the official news agency, continued accusing Google on Wednesday of displaying links to “pornographic” websites among its search results.
State media reports also attacked the company over the fact that users could still find and connect to websites from outside China through Google.cn, despite a government threat last week to suspend foreign website searches as a “punishment” for failing to clean its search results from pornographic content.
In reaction to the government's criticism, Google took down the buttons on Google.cn that allow users to choose whether they want to search domestic or foreign websites. However, searching for foreign media websites would still bring those up on Google.cn.
China frequently blocked Google.com before the company set up a local subsidiary and a website in China in 2005 on which it decided to filter results in compliance with local censorship requirements. But since then, there have been no more than very short-term disruptions for which the reasons were hard to establish.