Chinese advocacy group GreatFire.org has reported that the Great Firewall of China is being used to block access to Google services ahead of the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.
Google has not noticed an issue at its end, according to a report on Reuters, but the group is sure of the block and the reasons behind it.
"The 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident is coming. This highlights another fierce battle in the war between China censorship authority and information flow," GreatFire.org said in a blogpost
"Google started to encrypt search by default in China in March and currently nearly all users will be redirected to the encrypted version automatically. But prior to the anniversary of Tiananmen incident, GFW (Great Firewall of China) began to severely disrupt Google search by disrupting TCP connections to Google IPs."
We have asked Google to confirm if the statement that it gave to Reuters is still valid. Greatfire.org says that any Google service, whether encrypted or not, is blocked in China. "The block is indiscriminate...," it said. "This blockage includes Google search, images, translate, Gmail and almost all other products."
The group has linked to a number of mirrors that frustrated local Google users can turn to during the block. It says that the sites have been blocked off for about four days, and pointed to an earlier block that saw Google inaccessible for 12 hours. It suggested that Google should act against the firewall.
"There are steps that Google can take to combat this censorship, which they currently choose not to. Google can tunnel through other undisrupted Content Delivery Network services to evade the block. Google can also add censorship-evading functions through its popular web browser Chrome. At the moment, even the start page of Chrome will not load in China. But Google can tweak Chrome's code to bypass censorship," it added.
"Back in 2009, Google decided to remove itself from China so that it no longer needed to censor its content. But it seems that Google is quite happy that GFW does the censorship work for them."
The move comes as relations between the US and China continue to sour in the online sphere, after the US filed charges against five state officials over hacking. China has responded by saying US tech will have their kit vetted before use.
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