Reporters Without Borders notes that the video-sharing site YouTube (http://www.youtube.com) and Google’s blog search engine (http://bogsearch.google.com) have been accessible again in China since 30 October.
The government had made these websites inaccessible since 15 October because of the Communist Party’s 17th congress. People trying to access the Google blog search engine were redirected to Google’s highly-censored Chinese equivalent, Baidu.com, while YouTube was just blocked, in Taiwan as well as China.
The Internet continues to be closely controlled in China. No Chinese version of YouTube has been devised. It exists only in its worldwide version (http://www.youtube.com) or in a regional version (http://www.hk.youtube.com) based in Hong Kong, which is more relaxed about the Internet. Both Google and Yahoo! have allowed their networks to be censored in order to have a presence in China since 2004.
19.10 : YouTube inaccessible and Google partially blocked
Reporters Without Borders today accused the Chinese government of blocking access to part of the Internet during the Communist Party’s 17th congress, which began on 15 October. Google’s blog search engine (http://www.blogsearch.google.com) and the video-sharing website YouTube have been inaccessible since 17 October.
“It is disturbing that these problems are taking place during the party congress,” the press freedom organisation said. “The blocking of these sites comes at a perfect time for the government. Blogs and video-sharing sites such as YouTube offer ways for Internet users to share situations they may have encountered during the congress. Preventing Chinese citizens from having access to them forces them to rely on the national media for their information. It so happens that on 15 October, the front pages of all the national newspapers were virtually identical.”
Anyone trying to use Google’s blog search engine is automatically redirected to Baidu.com, the Chinese search engine launched in 2004 that is highly censored. Reporters Without Borders calls on ISPs and Baidu itself to explain why this is happening.
The press freedom organisation criticised a similar switching arrangement in 2002, which was put in place at the behest of the Public Security Department by ISPs linked to the state telecommunications company China Telecom.
The situation with YouTube is different. The site is simply inaccessible. Any attempt to access it yields the message: “The server is taking too long to respond.” This is the first time YouTube has been blocked this year. Bought up by Google last year, YouTube had until now been constantly accessible even when access to its French counterpart, Dailymotion was blocked. Bloggers can still access it using censorship-evading proxy software but the latest videos are not available.
Dailymotion, on the other hand, is currently accessible.
China is one of the world’s most repressive countries as regards the Internet. A survey issued by Reporters Without Borders on 10 October revealed that five government and Communist Party entities control the flow of information online, both before and after it has been published. China is the world’s biggest prison for cyber-dissidents, with 50 currently detained.
Read the report abut Internet censorship in China :