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China Blocks Google and Microblog Searches for Zengcheng Protests

The Chinese government most recently blocked any Chinese search on google and microblogs for the terms related to Zencheng – a region that saw protests and riots in recent weeks. The move is part of an effort to suppress information on the rioting.

“The protests in Zengcheng, a city in the country’s Guangdong province, began last week after security officers clashed with two migrants who were told to stop selling goods on the street. One of the migrants, who was pregnant, fell to the ground. The resulting rioting caused huge crowds of people to gather and fight with police, according to video footage posted online.

The local Zengcheng government issued a statement on Monday telling residents to refrain from believing rumors and participating in the riots. Government officials state the pregnant woman is doing well. Riot police have also been sent in to quell the dissent.”

Chinese authorities have always been sensitive to protests, and routinely block the Web for content perceived to be critical of the government. Websites including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are inaccessible from within the country.

Google searches in Zengcheng, result in the browser’s connection to the server being reset, with no search results offered. Chinese authorities have also blocked searches for the city’s name on some of China’s most popular microblogs, including ones operated by Sina and Tencent.

Beyond the Zengcheng blocks, the Chinese authorities have:

  • Prevented access to Facebook and various other social sites
  • Blocked searches for terms in the past, including the “Jasmine Revolution” used by activists inside the country
  • Prevented Gmail access to stop inter-activists communication
  • Prevented access to the Internet – full stop – for long periods of time in areas that showed civil unrest.

China’s censorship of the Internet has risen to new levels, according to analysts. This happened after an anonymous online call was made urging the Chinese people to hold a “Jasmine Revolution” against the government.

China has applied similar Internet censoring methods to other protest movements. Last month, China blocked mention of Inner Mongolia from local microblogs and social networking sites following ethnic protests that occurred in the region.

[Via: PCWorld]

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