BEIJING Jan 8 Access to the website of the
British newspaper the Guardian has been blocked in China, the
newspaper said on Wednesday, adding that it did not know why.
The websites of the New York Times Co and Bloomberg
News have been blocked in China for more than a year after they
published reports about the wealth of family members of former
Premier Wen Jiabao and President Xi Jinping, respectively.
China's ruling Communist Party, anxious to maintain power
and preserve stability, routinely blocks access to foreign news
websites it deems inappropriate or politically sensitive.
The Guardian cited an anti-censorship website,
greatfire.org, as saying that its website was first blocked on
"The reasons for the Guardian block are unclear - no
China-related stories published by the Guardian in the past two
days would obviously be perceived as dangerous by the country's
leadership," the newspaper said in an article on its website.
Access to the Guardian, and other blocked websites, is
limited to people with virtual private networks (VPNs) that can
bypass China's internet blocking mechanism, known as the Great
When asked about the Guardian's website being blocked in
China, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: "This is
the first time I have heard of this.
"I don't understand the situation. You can inquire with
China's relevant department," she said at a daily news briefing.
The Guardian said a Jan. 6 report it ran explored tension in
China's ethnically diverse and troubled northwestern region of
Xinjiang, but added that the newspaper "has covered the subject
before without any noticeable fallout".
The blocking of the Guardian's website comes after the
United States expressed concern about China's efforts to
restrict the activity of foreign news organisation.
Neither the New York Times Co nor Bloomberg News was given
new journalist visas for more than a year. Foreign journalists
from the two media organisations had feared they may have to
leave China after the government gave no indication it would
grant them their accreditations, a move criticised by U.S. Vice
President Joe Biden on a visit to Beijing last month.
But the government in December renewed the press
accreditations for journalists from Bloomberg News and several
New York Times reporters.
The Chinese-language websites of Thomson Reuters and the
Wall Street Journal were blocked in mid-November. The websites
became accessible on Dec. 25.
Foreign reporters working in China face numerous
difficulties, including a lack of access to top officials and
harassment, and even violence, when covering sensitive issues
such as protests. China says foreign media are granted
Bloomberg LP, the news and financial information company,
competes with Thomson Reuters.