GreatFire.org said in a blog post that the
government appeared to have begun targeting Google Inc's main
search engine and Gmail, among many other services, since at
least last week, making them inaccessible to many users in
It added that the last time it monitored such a block was in
2012, when it only lasted 12 hours.
"It is not clear that the block is a temporary measure around
the anniversary or a permanent block. But because the block has
lasted for four days, it's more likely that Google will be
severely disrupted and barely usable from now on," the advocacy
Asked about the disruptions, a Google spokesman said: "We've
checked extensively and there's nothing wrong on our end."
Google's own transparency report, which shows details about its
global traffic, showed lower levels of activity from China
starting from about Friday, which could indicate a significant
amount of disruption.
Reuters was unable to reach any government officials for comment
as Monday is a national holiday in China. Beijing typically
responds to such reports by saying that all internet companies
operating in China have to obey the law.
Google in 2010 moved its Chinese search engine service out of
China, the world's second-largest economy, citing rampant
censorship, and now operates it from Hong Kong.
The Chinese government already blocks the popular foreign
websites Facebook, Twitter and Google's own YouTube.
For the ruling Communist Party, the 1989 demonstrations that
clogged Tiananmen Square in Beijing and spread to other cities
remain taboo, particularly on their 25th anniversary.
The government has detained several activists last month after
attending a meeting about the protests, including prominent
rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, prompting concern in the United
States and Europe.
The anniversary of the date on which troops shot their way into
central Beijing in 1989 has never been publicly marked in
mainland China, though every year there are commemorations in
The government has never released a death toll for the
crackdown, but estimates from human rights groups and witnesses
range from several hundred to several thousand.
China already has strict controls on what can be said online,
and the government has been further tightening those
Users of China's popular Twitter-like service Weibo sounded off
about the Google blockage.
"Those officials are driving me crazy with this!" wrote one
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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