Beijing (China) – YouTube has once again been blocked by the Chinese government. Google has been given no reason for the blockage, but discovered it themselves after noticing a decline in Chinese traffic around noon on Monday. Many believe the blockage relates to recent videos depicting alleged brutality by Chinese police in Tibet.
Users attempting to access the site in China encounter the error message: “Network Timeout. The server at youtube.com is taking too long to respond.”
Many citizens of China are speculating the ban was an attempt by the government to prevent citizen access to footage which was recently released by a Tibetan exile group showing citizens of Tibet allegedly being brutalized by Chinese police officers.
YouTube has been banned by other countries as well for allowing users to upload and share videos which foreign governments in Bangladesh, Thailand, Pakistan and Turkey found embarrassing to their political regimes.
Google is working to restore access to the site for Chinese citizens.
This is not the first instance in which Chinese users have been unable to access the video sharing site. China blocked YouTube during the Tibet riots in March 2008. During that time protesters were burning shops and vehicles in an attempt to protest the Han Chinese influence. The riots left 19 dead.
The Chinese government often blocks access to websites it considers to be in violation of its political stance. In the past, The New York Times and Voice of America have been blocked. Television broadcasts are also often censored. Shows which cover issues on Chinese and Taiwanese policy that air on BBC and CNN are often blocked.
China has yet to explain the most recent block, or whether or not they initiated it or not.