China blocks Google services as Tiananmen anniversary nears

The country has not confirmed that it has actually blocked Google services, but censorship is the likely culprit as the 25th anniversary of the uprising nears.

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Google is the latest victim of the broad online censorship in China, according to reports out of the country.

Since last week, China-based regulators have blocked several Google services, including search, Gmail, and other services, according to a report out of the country. The country hasn't confirmed that it has indeed blocked Google services, but most Chinese users have discovered Google's services to be inaccessible since last week.

It's believed that the blockade is tied to this week's 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre in which he Chinese killed, injured, and arrested mass numbers of unarmed protesters. Each year, the Chinese government censors the Web to try to limit protests against the thwarted uprising. Several Internet services are currently blocked or censored, including social networks and other Web communication tools.

Google has had a contentious relationship with China over the years. The company had once offered its search services in China. But after facing the government down on censorship, Google decided to move its services to Hong Kong. The move effectively allowed the search company to operate outside the rules and regulations placed upon it by the Chinese government. As China proved this week, however, it still has the ability to block the flow of traffic from Hong Kong into the mainland.

One of the Google-owned services not affected in this latest bout of censorship is YouTube. The video site has been blocked in China for years, along with Facebook and Twitter.

When June rolls around each year and the Tiananmen Square Massacre is commemorated around the world, including in Hong Kong, China's ruling party typically conducts a Web crackdown. It's not uncommon for Chinese censors to block certain comments from being made even on China-based company services, like Weibo. China also applies pressure to Baidu and other search engines in the country to ensure censorship filters are in place.

CNET has contacted Google for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

(Via Reuters)

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