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 China.
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 group said.
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
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.
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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
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 Hong Kong.
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 restrictions.
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 user.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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