Tuesday, June 2, 2009

China blocks Internet access and steps up security ahead of 20th anniversary of Tiananmen

by M. Ulric Killion

Reuters reported that ahead of the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen, Chinese security forces blanketed Tiananmen Square on Wednesday, which is one day after Twitter and Hotmail Internet services in China were blocked.

Roses are placed in front of the statue of the Goddess of Democracy during a 64-hour hunger strike by students at Times Square in Hong Kong June 2, 2009, two days before the 20th anniversary of the June 4 military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. (REUTERS/Bobby Yip).

Microsoft’s Bing, Live.com, Hotmail, and other Internet services have been blocked for customers in China.

According to Microsoft director of public affairs Kevin Kutz, "We are reaching out to the government to understand this decision and find a way to move forward." Further Kutz said, "Microsoft is committed to helping advance the free flow of information, and is committed to encouraging transparency, due process and rule of law when it comes to Internet governance.”

People surf the Internet in Jinan, in eastern China's Shandong province.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) said that Chinese Web users reported that access to the websites began being blocked inside China on Tuesday. RWB in a prepared statement said it “is outraged by the blockage of a dozen websites such as Twitter, YouTube, Bing, Flickr, Opera, Live, Wordpress and Blogger in China."

Further, according to RWB, "The Chinese government stops at nothing to silence what happened 20 years ago in Tiananmen Square," it said. "By blocking access to a dozen websites used daily by millions of Chinese citizens, the authorities have opted for censorship at any price rather than accept a debate about this event."

“China's foreign correspondents' association on Tuesday condemned moves by authorities in Beijing to block reporting in the run-up to the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC) said it had received at least three reports of authorities blocking reporting at Tiananmen Square and intimidating journalists or their sources. The country's communist leadership sent soldiers to forcibly clear the square and surrounding areas on the night of June 3-4, 1989, ending seven weeks of protests calling for political reforms.”

This photo dated May 18, 1989 shows students from Beijing University as they stage a huge demonstration at Tiananmen Square as they start an unlimited hunger strike as the part of mass pro-democracy protest against the Chinese government. The US Congress called Tuesday on China to launch a UN-backed probe of its crackdown in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago and to free all political prisoners (AFP/File/Catherine Henriette).
Chris Lefkow, China blocks websites ahead of Tiananmen anniversary, June 2, 2009, AFP.
Ben Blanchard and Lucy Hornby, China ups security ahead of Tiananmen anniversary, June 2, 2009. Reuters.
Copyright © Protected - All Rights Reserved M. Ulric Killion, 2009.

1 comment:

  1. apparently China wants to keep it old school, Web 1.0, until further notice