China to YouTube: YouBlocked
China’s access to YouTube, which has been intermittent at best, ceased entirely late Monday, apparently choked off by the country’s legendary Internet filtering system. “YouTube is currently being blocked in China,” Google said in a statement. “We do not know the reason for the blockage, but we are working to restore access to YouTube in China as quickly as possible.”
As Google (GOOG) notes, there’s no formal explanation yet for the block, though it may be in response to a seven-minute video posted to YouTube last week showing Chinese soldiers brutally beating Tibetans last March after the riots in Lhasa. China, after all, isn’t renowned for its tolerance of free expression or dissident speech. Remember, animated beat cops patrol the nation’s 13 top portals, warning citizens away from material the ruling Communist Party finds politically or morally threatening.
Asked to comment on the block, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang claimed Beijing was unaware of it. “Many people have a false impression that the Chinese government fears the Internet. In fact it is just the opposite,” he told reporters. “China’s Internet is open enough, but also needs to be regulated by law in order to prevent the spread of harmful information and for national security.”