Following Iran’s Lead, China Blocks Google

Written by Andrea Peterson

The Chinese government blocked Google websites Friday in what appears to be part of an escalating crack down on Chinese Internet users as the Communist Party goes through a leadership transition. Despite being the fifth most trafficked site in China, Google had previously considered leaving the Chinese market altogether in 2010 in response to Chinese filtering and a cyber attack on Gmail servers.

While Google’s Youtube has been blocked in China since 2009, today’s move affects all the core Google services, including Gmail, Play, Docs, Maps, and Analytics. The block on Google Analytics could have particularly complex repercussions for the web outside of China because it means Chinese users will not be tracked on the thousands of websites using the analytics tool.

Most reports indicate a relatively conservative economic and political block may be taking power in the current leadership transition, signaling trouble for foreign companies doing business in China–especially online, like Google. That conservative block already considers social media a thorn in its side, and likely won’t take as kindly to the type of criticism now being thrown at outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao over social media. The threat of this unbridled freedom of expression may be the driving force behind the regime’s decision to block Google and other services key to routing Chinese censorship: Users have also reported difficulty accessing virtual private networks (VPNs) in recent weeks, a tool frequently relied on by users in China and other countries with limited online freedom to bypass restrictions.

China isn’t the first country to block Google services — their actions mirror Iran’s block in September, which was only partially lifted to allow Gmail access after complaints from Iranian officials. While China and its Great Fire Wall are largely discussed as among the most complex and restrictive Internet filtering regimes, Iran has been working towards cutting itself off from the internet entirely and replacing it with a closet network. The equipment behind that closed intranet was manufactured by Chinese company Huawei. The U.S. announced sanctions against Reza Taghipour, the minister behind Iran’s internet censorship program, citing his role in jamming satellite television broadcasts and restricting Internet connectivity. It’s highly unlikely China will face similar repercussions for their online censorship.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


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Photo: The Rocketeer/flickr


Thorn Briar
Past Member 5 years ago


Robyn Brice
Robyn Vorsa5 years ago

It's just a matter of time before the people of China revolt and this time the government won't be able to stop it.

Will Rogers
Will Rogers5 years ago

John b. when was slavery outlawed in Tibet? Was it before or after China liberated that country? When were the first hospitals in Tibet built?
When it comes to revolution...we are the ones in need of it, our society needs change. We need to change our own Kleptocracies. Our crooked systems that keep us working like dogs, we need to keep our eyes on the real enemies. Our own governments that send us to war, that ask us to tighten our belts while they loosen theirs. I don't have time to listen to the bullshit of the Dalai Lama, royalists, hate-mongers, voyeurs and war glamorisers and sympathisers.
Yes the world is turning and changing and royal families have to make way. Tyrants and dictatorships also have to make way! If its doomed to fail, it's doomed to fail! But if we're the instruments of its failure...then how can we claim the moral ground? It's called hubris or as the Germans call it scheudenfreude. (Not sure it's the right spelling) where we get joy from others misfortune.
China is just the latest fashionable target, a diversion from the countries at war, and when they sort their shit out we'll find someone else to scapegoat. It is part of our instinctive psychology to mistrust and demonise foreigners, but science and logic is good because it ignores instinct and gut feeling which are most often proved wrong in the face of facts. So I ask you once again...was slavery abolished in Tibet before or after the Dalai Lama left?

Rita White
Rita White5 years ago

Thank you for the article

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim5 years ago

This is terrible. I'm predicting some violent riots in China soon. You can't limit millions of people's freedom after giving them a taste of it.

John Mansky
John Mansky5 years ago

Thank you for the article...

john byrne
john byrne5 years ago

Will R.
Do the words embrace change ring a bell with you?
The World moves & change & is getting better, not if you are a Tibetan living in terror in your own land , in your reference to hating Royalty you can stand on a box at speakers corner or in any part of the U.K.& make your point of view known to anyone who cares to listen try it in wonderful China. What schools would China install in Tibet? hardly any that would advance Tibetan culture as they have denied them the right to graze their animals as they have for decades.Hospitals? i cant see China opening a burns unit any time soon can you? the new railway that goes from China to Tibet is hailed as the cleanest train in the world by Peking its a great shame that they dont have the same concern for human lives @ suffering.I wonder what the death rate is since China showed up would you think it is more or less? strangely enough China did make efforts to bring the Dalai Lama to mainland China for his own protection albeit from China. Will R. thats called internment locked up without any trial or a trial held in secret courts by state appointed judges we have witnessed enough of that in our well cultured society does that ring another bell for you?Tibetan culture & what ever God they choose to pray to was a matter for them to decide on & not have the iron fist of an envading army ride rough shod over, but then other nations have behaved this way as you are well aware.Finally

Will Rogers
Will Rogers5 years ago

You see! Not one original comment between you!
What have I said exactly that's a lie? Specifically?
Pamela w, you could have said something more original than the old 'chip on the shoulder' gag, I know your next cliche would have been 'head in the sand'. Or 'denial is more than just a river in Egypt!' What you need to do is read more books and less newspapers. How is your lovely adopted France? Still nuking the South Pacific? Still selling arms around the world? Still playing politics in Africa? Yes of course they are! Ever heard of French indo-china? What about its colonies in the Caribbean? ..In the South Pacific? Maybe China should have its warships off our coasts, as we do to them. Have their guns trained on us as we do to them.
John b. Until 1959. There were no hospitals, schools or universities in Tibet.
Q. When was slavery in Tibet abolished?
A. 1959, after the Dalai Lama left! Yes he was the head of a slave society where the monks were the masters and overseers, 200 religious holidays a year and serfs had to attend. 80% of their crops went to the temple as did their first sons etc. amputation as punishment etc. I hate Royalty, and I would hate to see the reinstation of this royal tyrant. Please please people, read some books, find out, don't be accidental royalists, the Dalai Lama and his theocracy were Tibets 1%. But don't take my word for it. Read!
Q. 1st schools, university, hospitals?
A. 1960. After the Dalai Lama left! Read! Google it!

Nils Lunde
PlsNoMessage se5 years ago

people ARE ON THE MOVE :-)

Nirvana Jaganath
Nirvana Jaganath5 years ago

Mind boggling!