Twitter has been blocked in China and officials are looking into the reasons as to why. Internet users in China have reported that not only Twitter, other services like Yahoo’s Flickr photo site, YouTube, Microsoft’s HotMail, etc are also inaccessible.
Has the Chinese government purposely blocked social media sites?
It is indeed being suspected by many. Tomorrow is China’s 20th anniversary of the military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square. It is possible that some sites on the Internet have been blocked in order to suppress and shut off the Tiananmen talks – an extreme measure to shield its citizens from any hint of the anniversary of the military crackdown that ended the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement.
What is the Tiananmen Square incident of 1989?
Around 4000 to 6000 civilians (unconfirmed) were shot dead by the Chinese army during a bloody military operation on 4th June 1989 to crush a democratic protest in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Social media experts Laura Fitton and the author of Twitter for Dummies says:
“If that is their intent, they inadvertently created even more dialogue,”
Some recent bans!
Government censorship of political material on Internet is common in China, but this is the first time Twitter has been blocked.
- Censors blocked Chinese users from viewing all videos on YouTube
- BBC World News reports related to the Tiananmen anniversary were being selectively blacked out of broadcast programs in China.
- A number of sites that have hosted Chinese bloggers, including Blogger blogs and the Chinese-language version of WordPress, have also been blocked.
- The distribution of the ‘South China Morning Post’ that has frequently featured articles on Tiananmen and other sensitive issues has also been curbed.
- Last weekend’s edition of The International Herald Tribune had an inside page of the newspaper with an article on the Dalai Lama – the Tibetan religious leader, missing.
There is also the possibility that Twitter could simply be experiencing some technical problems. Let’s wait a little more to get some more clarity on this.