China Temporarily Blocks Google

BEIJING — Does the Chinese government even know how oppressive it is? In the latest round of Web censorship in China, citizens were temporarily blocked Wednesday through Thursday from Google, as well as from Gmail and YouTube, reports indicate.

The move is seen a final warning to Google's China operation, handed down by the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center.

According to Digital Daily, foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference complaints were received from "many residents" that Google's English-language search engine "has spread large amounts of vulgar content that is lascivious and pornographic, seriously violating China’s relevant laws and regulations."

Gang said that as "an Internet enterprise providing service in China," Google should "earnestly abide" by those rules.

Numerous Twitter tweets sent around the glove verified the block of Google and its related sites. Twitter and Flickr were also said be cut off by Chinese censors.

In an issued statement, Google said, "We understand that many users could not access in China, along with linked services, such as Google Docs and Gmail, during the last 24 hours. Service has now been restored to many people affected."

"Additionally, we have also heard that users were unable to access for a short period on Wednesday evening," the statement said.

"We are investigating the matter and hope that the service will be fully restored soon.”

As Britain's Telegraph reports, Google established the localized search engine four years ago, agreeing to filter results based on government censorship restrictions and content requirements, but Chinese officials say that has not been the case due to its links with

"Google China's website has not installed filters to block pornography in accordance with the laws and regulations of our nation," said the CIIRC, according to The Guardian in the U.K. "A lot of overseas Internet pornographic information has spread into our nation by way of this website."

It appears Google may cave in to the Chinese government demands based on another statement.

"We are undertaking a thorough review of our service and taking all necessary steps to fix any problems with our results," Google said. "We believe we have addressed a large majority of the problem results."

Human rights and Internet rights groups have cried foul, accusing China of using the claim of porn and "lewd" content as an excuse to crush any social or political dissent.

The Google incident is just the latest chapter in an ongoing content purge that began early this year and includes the push to install Green Dam filtering software on all computers in China.