After short revival, Google service disruptions in China return

BEIJING Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:41am IST

A woman walks past the logo of Google in front of its headquarters in Beijing January 12, 2011. REUTERS/Christina Hu/Files

A woman walks past the logo of Google in front of its headquarters in Beijing January 12, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Christina Hu/Files

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Google Inc services were once again being disrupted in China on Friday after a brief respite on Thursday, users and an anti-censorship group reported, continuing more than a month of severe disruption.

Features such as Google's search, maps, online advertising services and e-mail client have been rendered almost inaccessible for users in China.

The Google disruption began in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the government's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators around Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

China maintains tight control over the Internet, nipping in the bud any signs of dissent or challenges to the ruling Communist Party's leadership.

Google declined to comment.

China-based anti-censorship group GreatFire.org reported that Google services appeared once again to be inaccessible within China.

The "Great Firewall", the tool the Communist Party uses to block websites it deems undesirable, experienced a glitch that allowed Google services to work, GreatFire.org said.

"It looks like merely a bug of the Great Firewall," said a member of the group who used a pseudonym. "It's blocked again."

The brief restoration of access had occurred as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was visiting Beijing, where cyber-security was high on the list of topics he discussed.

Other online services are also experiencing disruption in China, which began last week. These include South Korean Naver Corp's Line and KakaoTalk, owned by South Korea's Kakao Corp, both of which are mobile messaging apps.

Disruptions have also been affecting Yahoo Inc's photo-sharing site, Flickr, and Microsoft Corp's OneDrive cloud storage platform.

Other overseas online services, such as social networks Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc, and Google-owned video site YouTube, have been blocked in China for years.

(Reporting by Paul Carsten and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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