Over the weekend, Google experienced a major disruption in its services within China. Google said the problem was not caused by anything the company did, leading to widespread speculation that the Chinese government is blocking Google’s services.
The Wall Street Journal’s Carlos Tejada and Paul Mozur reported, “Disruptions to Google Inc.’s Web-search and email services in China over the weekend underscore the uncertainty surrounding Beijing’s effort to control the flow of information into the country, as well as the risks that effort poses to the government’s efforts to draw global businesses. Chinese users of many of Google’s services reported a lack of access late Friday, halting use of everything from Google’s search engine to its Gmail email service to its Google Play mobile-applications store.”
Bloomberg’s Brian Womack added, “Google’s Transparency Report, which measures traffic to its sites around the world, showed a bigger-than-typical plunge in China traffic yesterday. The company’s services — including mail, maps and document storage — were being blocked in China, according to Greatfire.org, a website that monitors Internet activity and access in China. China’s government, which is currently holding the 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress to appoint a new generation of leaders, maintains media regulations that let it block websites that it deems out of compliance with those rules. Google said in 2010 that it would not comply and shuttered its local search page, redirecting users to a Hong Kong site. ‘We’ve checked and there’s nothing wrong on our end,’ Mountain View, California-based Google said yesterday in a statement.”
Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal’s Lisa Ward observed, “Reports Monday morning indicate that Google Inc.’s services in China remain spotty with some reports of access after the search giant’s products were shut down Friday when the Communist Party Congress met.”
ZDNet’s Zack Whittaker noted, “China has long been known for its ‘Great Firewall,’ which filters out content based on what the state ruling party does not want its citizens to see. That said, many circumvent the blocks by using proxy services and virtual private networking (VPN) services that bounce traffic through different countries where Web traffic is not restricted.”