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6 June 2006. Thanks to A.
CHINA: Google.com blocked as vise tightens on Internet users
IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community
ALERT - CHINA
6 June 2006
Google.com blocked as vise tightens on Internet users
SOURCE: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), Paris
**For further information on Internet companies' activities in China, see alerts of 28 and 19 April, 17 and 15 February and 10 January 2006, 29 July 2004, 3 December 2003 and 13 December 2002**
(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has condemned the current unprecedented level of Internet filtering in China, which means the Google.com search engine can no longer be accessed in most provinces - although the censored Chinese version, Google.cn, is still accessible - and software designed in the United States to get round censorship now only works with great difficulty.
The organisation also deplored the fact that the 17th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on 4 June 2006 has been used to tighten the vice on Chinese Internet users.
"It was only to be expected that Google.com would be gradually sidelined after the censored version was launched in January," Reporters Without Borders said. "Google has just definitively joined the club of western companies that comply with online censorship in China. It is deplorable that Chinese Internet users are forced to wage a technological war against censorship in order to access banned content."
Internet users in many major Chinese cities have had difficulty in connecting to the uncensored international version of Google for the past week. The search engine was totally inaccessible throughout the country on 31 May. The blocking then gradually extended to Google News and Google Mail. So the Chinese public is now reduced to using the censored Chinese versions of these services.
At the same time, the authorities have largely managed to neutralise software designed to sidestep censorship since 24 May. Such software as Dynapass, Ultrasurf, Freegate and Garden Networks is normally used by about 100,000 people in China to gain access to news and information that his blocked by the firewall isolating China from the rest of the worldwide web.
Bill Xia, the US-based exile who created Dynapass, said the jamming of these programmes had reached an unprecedented level and he was convinced the authorities were deploying considerable hardware and software resources to achieve it.
Software engineers based abroad have been trying to update these programmes on the basis of information they have received from Internet users inside China. A new version of Dynapass was released a few days ago, but its effectiveness is still extremely limited.
For further information, contact Julien Pain, RSF Internet Desk, 5, rue Geoffroy Marie, Paris 75009, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 71, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail: internet[at]rsf.org, Internet: http://www.internet.rsf.org
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of RSF. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit RSF.
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