China blocks access to Google’s supersite YouTube

China blocks access to YouTube

The search giant, owner of YouTube, Google reported that China, which earlier blocked the traffic on the video sharing website, blocked the YouTube access in China again, on Tuesday, possibly because the site was featuring the videos showing the Chinese soldiers maltreating Tibetan nationals.

San Bruno, California based YouTube confirmed that China had blocked access to the popular video-sharing service, but it did not offer explanation for why the Chinese authorities had taken that action against the site.

Scott Rubin, a spokesman for Google, said, "YouTube has been blocked in China since yesterday, but we do not know the reason for the blockage, and we're working as quickly as possible to restore access to our users in China." According to Rubin, “the network in China started slowing on Monday and was finally blocked by Tuesday morning; as of 5:30 p.m. PST Tuesday, Google was still working to restore the service”.

China has long history of blocking and suppressing anti-government or politically unaccepted content. The month of March marks the first anniversary of riots protesting Chinese rule in Tibet. The Tibetan government in exile released and posted the videos showing handcuffed Tibetan prisoners being beaten by Chinese soldiers, on YouTube, on March 20. One of the videos on YouTube was showing a man, who tried to help a monk, being burned with cigarettes and a nail being driven into his foot.

YouTube was blocked because the Chinese government challenged the authenticity of the video showing the Chinese police beating a pro-Tibet demonstrator to death last year. The China's Official Xinhua News Agency alleged that these video were posted on the site by the supporters of the Dalai Lama, who were "fabricating lies" by doctoring video to "deceive the international community."

"We encourage the active use of the Internet, but also manage the Internet according to law," said a Chinese government spokesman, when asked about YouTube at a press conference. However, spokesman for the Chinese consulate in San Francisco stated that he didn't have any information about YouTube being blocked in China.

According to T. Kumar, an advocacy director for Asia and the Pacific for Amnesty International USA, the YouTube blockage "fits the pattern of Chinese authorities censoring information." China has regularly blocked sites that contain information that it finds objectionable.

YouTube was temporarily blocked in March of last year, when the site showed video clips showing violent unrest in the Tibetan capital Lhasa that triggered a virtual lockdown of the city by security forces. China also blocked Blip.TV, a New York based online television network, for over a year.

YouTube and United Kingdom — Meanwhile, YouTube blocked music videos in the United Kingdom, after it failed to reach licensing agreement with the Performing Rights Society, which deals with the legislation policy with UK music and collectors of royalties for artists.