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China blocking YouTube to suppress Tibet rioting?

People all over China are reporting that access to the video-sharing site has been blocked, possibly in connection with a Chinese government crackdown on Tibet.

People all over China are reporting that YouTube access has been blocked, possibly in connection with a Chinese government crackdown on Tibet, according to a colleague of mine at CNET Asia.

"I can't access the site here, either, and a quick ping through my network utility does show 100 percent packet loss, indicating that a block is likely in effect," Rick Martin, who reports from China, writes on his blog. As evidence, he includes this screenshot taken from his computer:

"There were some videos uploaded to YouTube already about the demonstrations, but this block will definitely throw a wrench (into) anyone's plans to upload more," he writes. "That said, Chinese versions of YouTube, which have been told to censor this kind of sensitive content, are all still up and running as I write this."

The Dalai Lama on Sunday called for an international investigation of the crackdown, as Tibetan rioting against Chinese rule spread to other provinces. More than 80 people are reported dead in the past few days.

Access to YouTube from the United States was unimpeded, and a search of the site yielded dozens of what appear to be amateur videos recently added to the site chronicling the violence.

YouTube has suffered regional roadblocks before. The Google-owned video-sharing site suffered a global outage last month, when the Pakistan government--apparently displeased by a video running on the site--ordered that access to the site by Pakistan residents be cut off. The service was eventually restored to most of the world, but it would be a few days until Pakistan allowed its residents to again access the site.