Google has confirmed that the Chinese authorities have actively preventing Chinese internet users from accessing its popular online video website Youtube since Monday.
Chinese users have been greeted with an error message saying : Network Timeout. The server at youtube.com is taking too long to respond.”
The root cause of the blockade appears to be a video that allegedly shows Chinese policemen beating up Tibetan protesters but Google says it has yet to get an official explanation from the Chinese government as to why the site was blocked.
The BBC, which has posted the 47-second video on its website, reports that China has already declared that the Tibet video is "a lie".
A Youtube spokesperson also said that "we're working as quickly as possible to restore access to our users in China", which would mean that the search engine has possibly started discussions to allow Chinese users to access Youtube again.
Last year, the Chinese government also blocked Youtube during the riots in Tibet to prevent pro-Tibetan activists from posting propaganda videos online and the Chinese government is also known to be
There are more than 52900 videos on Youtube related to Tibet and a not-so-insignificant amount of them are actually against the Tibetan movement. "Tibet WAS,IS,and ALWAYS WILL BE a part of China" received nearly 3.5 million views while "Riot in Tibet: True face of western media" got more than 1.4 million views.
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Google is once more a victim of the great Firewall of China which has blocked scores of other high profile websites in the past that did not comply with the Chinese communist party main line. There are obviously ways of circumventing this ban and it is likely that the arrival of mobile internet in China could make it more difficult for the Chinese authorities to control content.