China Blocks YouTube, Google Plays Dumb

In case you haven’t heard, Google announced a few days ago that YouTube had been completely censored in China. According to the New York Times, “Google said it did not know why the site had been blocked…”

“We don’t know the reason for the block,” a Google spokesman, Scott Rubin, said. “Our government relations people are trying to resolve it.”

Give us a break, Scott.

It’s widely speculated that the Chinese government was less than happy about footage of Chinese soldiers beating Tibetans appearing on the site.

But this is old news. Really old news. China has been censoring the internet since it was introduced back in 1994. Web sites promoting democracy, human rights (including Amnesty International’s), and banned religions, such as Falung Gong, are restricted in China. Actually, pretty much any web site critical of the Chinese government is banned. 

Experts believe China operates the most extensive, technologically sophisticated and broad-reaching system of internet filtering in the world – “The Great Firewall of China.”

And the big web players, specifically Yahoo! and Google, have been acting as accomplices. Early in 2006, Google launched a self-censoring Chinese search engine, google.cn, that blocks search results for banned topics.

The freedom to information and expression is a human right. But apparently, profits come before people at Google.

Don’t play dumb, Google. Don’t be evil.

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21 thoughts on “China Blocks YouTube, Google Plays Dumb

  1. So how do we get info into China regardless of the complicity of corporations with governments? Let's bang on the front door and shout, i.e. chastise the complicity, and perhaps they'll slowly loosen up. Meanwhile, let's package meaningful content so it slips past the filters.

  2. As an Amnesty International supporter for well over a decade, I'm surprised at the lack of evidence presented in this post to support your conclusions. In other words, this post seems a lot more 'bark' then 'bite'.

  3. So how do we get info into China regardless of the complicity of corporations with governments? Let’s bang on the front door and shout, i.e. chastise the complicity, and perhaps they’ll slowly loosen up. Meanwhile, let’s package meaningful content so it slips past the filters.

  4. As an Amnesty International supporter for well over a decade, I’m surprised at the lack of evidence presented in this post to support your conclusions. In other words, this post seems a lot more ‘bark’ then ‘bite’.

  5. According to the NY Times, Google said that the traffic to youtube from China reduced to almost zero during those days. Since Google did not find any technical problem on its side, it is reasonable to conclude that the side is blocked. Now the burden shifts to the Chinese government to give a reason for blocking.
    Of course, this is just wishful thinking since the Chinese government never gives any real or reasonable explanation to issues like this.
    My question about Google is that I understand that it helped China in censoring its search result, and it apologized in a congressional hearing; but now what? The self-censoring google.cn is still there, and the harm is done.

  6. According to the NY Times, Google said that the traffic to youtube from China reduced to almost zero during those days. Since Google did not find any technical problem on its side, it is reasonable to conclude that the side is blocked. Now the burden shifts to the Chinese government to give a reason for blocking.
    Of course, this is just wishful thinking since the Chinese government never gives any real or reasonable explanation to issues like this.
    My question about Google is that I understand that it helped China in censoring its search result, and it apologized in a congressional hearing; but now what? The self-censoring google.cn is still there, and the harm is done.

  7. Agreed with Ralphie – if the self-censoring google.cn is still there, has anything really been accomplished?

  8. Agreed with Ralphie – if the self-censoring google.cn is still there, has anything really been accomplished?

  9. Cuba anyone?
    Where, for those of you who don't know, most sites have been blocked since forever and the media can't even report on the crime in their own neighborhoods!

  10. Cuba anyone?
    Where, for those of you who don’t know, most sites have been blocked since forever and the media can’t even report on the crime in their own neighborhoods!

  11. China firewall is lame, use water to put out the fire of the wall but how do you get over the wall? – use Freedur.com to bypass it. You can bypass China Great Firewall and access youtube, facebook, blogger and all other sites which are blocked.

  12. China firewall is lame, use water to put out the fire of the wall but how do you get over the wall? – use Freedur.com to bypass it. You can bypass China Great Firewall and access youtube, facebook, blogger and all other sites which are blocked.

  13. Pingback: China Blocks YouTube, Google Plays Dumb - China blog by Kristof