We recently reported that Google services in China were apparently blocked, incidentally as the 18th Communist Party Congress kickstarted. Thankfully, after a brief hiatus, access to Google services is now back to normal in the country.
The Party Congress started on Thursday and the Chinese government has taken a lot of measures to ensure that criticism towards the event is well censored and doesn’t get viral, either online or offline.
To ensure this, the government has been curbing offline distribution of dissident material and has also taken measures to keep a close eye on online discussions. Many viewed the recent Google outage, which lasted 12 hours, as yet another measure by the government to keep the online audience silent about the event.
Immediately after the access was blocked, Google revealed that everything was fine at its end and that the outage was either a result of a hacking attempt or the government’s plan to implement online censorship in the country through the Congress.
The allegation that Chinese government tried to block the services does make sense since a number of Tibetians have protested the Party Congress by putting themselves on fire. The Chinese government stopped the citizens from sharing any images pertaining to the incident.
Naturally, Google is the most popular method of sharing and discovering content online and the government’s axe may have fallen on it. But then, there’s no way to tell really whether or not it was the doing of the Chinese authorities.
Source: Google Transparency Report