A week after Google started redirecting Chinese search users to its Hong Kong site in order to avoid having to censor results, many search queries from within China are getting the Great Firewall treatment. The move was widely expected by most, and with Google's mobile services also getting a partial block in China, it's clear the government isn't a fan of Google's shenanigans when it comes to deciding what its citizens can access.
Chinese Internet users began noting that even the most benign of phrases were being blocked from Google.com.hk starting Tuesday morning (or Tuesday afternoon in China), as noted by the Wall Street Journal. This includes searches for words like "happy," in addition to your usual forbidden topics like porn and info about Tiananmen Square protests. As usual, the Chinese government hasn't made any official announcement about the blocks, so users are unsure as to whether they will be permanent or not.
Google's Mobile site, which normally offers access to things like search, images, Gmail, and more, has also been spotty in recent days, according to numerous reports online. Google's service availability page shows that YouTube and Blogger were outright inaccessible as of March 29 while Docs, Picasa, Groups, and Mobile were under a "partial block." The status for Web search still indicates no issues, though that's obviously not the case anymore.
Though the blocks are hardly surprising, many find them to be indicative that China's government is indeed more interested in maintaining control over the Internet for political purposes than allowing citizens to freely access information.
"It's terrible! I want to go out to the street and protest immediately! This will make many people angry," an unnamed photographer in Beijing told the WSJ. "This is a huge setback for China. To be excluded from mainstream society in the outside world makes me...despair for China's future."
Source: ars technica