Google is Now Back in China!

Google Hongkong in Chinese (Traditional Han)

Image: Google Hongkong in Chinese (Traditional Han) | Official Hong Kong Website

After Google services were blocked in China last week, it was reported that the search engine is now accessible since last Saturday. The site’s services include mail, maps, and document storage.

The site and its associated services were inaccessible for about 12 hours, as the country prepares for a new leadership. Subsequently, Internet traffic was back to the sites after 6 AM local time, as reported on Google’s Transparency Report. On the other hand, the search engine was accessible in China, although loading time was slow.

During the recent Google blocking, a number of Internet users posted their complaints on China’s Twitter-like microblogging sites. Many were pissed off at how their GMail access was restricted.

China’s online censorship monitoring system, GreatFire.org, also reported that access to Google appeared to resume in various parts of the country.

China and Internet Censorship

This is the first time that Google was blocked in China since 2010. Although it is unclear why sites where targeted this time, it can be associated with China’s Communist Party holding their 18th Party Congress.

Two weeks ago, The New York Times was also blocked from the country, after an article about the wealth amassed by the family of Chinese Premier Wen Jiaobao was published. In relation to this, the online publication remains inaccessible within the country.

It appears that China periodically increases their Internet censorship whenever a sensitive government issue arises. There were also reports that the country’s government maintains their media regulations, which blocks websites that they deem out of compliance with their rules.

The same thing happened last year, wherein an online call was made to urge the Chinese people to protest. In relation to this, Google accused the Chinese government of disrupting access to their Gmail services in the country.

GreatFire also reported that searches for Google services were recently being routed to a Korean website, which is made possible by a tactic known as DNS positioning. In June 2010, the search engine giant said that some of their Web search services in China were being partly blocked. Thus, they decided to route their searches to Hong Kong, which is not subject to mainland China’s Web restrictions.

However, Google’s popularity in China has declined since the 2010 shutdown. As of the moment, the company has a 5 percent share in the country’s search market based on the report of data analytics website CNZZ.com.

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