BEIJING, June 2 Google services are being
disrupted in China ahead of this week's 25th anniversary of the
1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators around Beijing's
Tiananmen Square, a censorship watchdog said on Monday.
GreatFire.org said in a blog post that the government
appeared to have begun targeting Google Inc's main
search engine and Gmail, among many other services, since at
least last week, making them inaccessible to many users in
It added that the last time it monitored such a block was in
2012, when it only lasted 12 hours.
"It is not clear that the block is a temporary measure
around the anniversary or a permanent block. But because the
block has lasted for four days, it's more likely that Google
will be severely disrupted and barely usable from now on," the
advocacy group said.
Asked about the disruptions, a Google spokesman said: "We've
checked extensively and there's nothing wrong on our end."
Google in 2010 moved its Chinese search engine service out
of China, the world's second-largest economy, citing rampant
censorship, and now operates it from Hong Kong.
The Chinese government already blocks the popular foreign
websites Facebook, Twitter and Google's own
For the ruling Communist Party, the 1989 demonstrations that
clogged Tiananmen Square in Beijing and spread to other cities
remain taboo, particularly on their 25th anniversary.
The government has detained several activists last month
after attending a meeting about the protests, including
prominent rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, prompting concern in the
United States and Europe.
The anniversary of the date on which troops shot their way
into central Beijing in 1989 has never been publicly marked in
mainland China, though every year there are commemorations in
The government has never released a death toll for the
crackdown, but estimates from human rights groups and witnesses
range from several hundred to several thousand.
China already has strict controls on what can be said
online, and the government has been further tightening those
Users of China's popular Twitter-like service Weibo sounded
off about the Google blockage.
"Those officials are driving me crazy with this!" wrote one
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)