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China pulls plug on YouTube after Tibet riots

March 17, 2008

By Sylvie Barak
Inquirer, UK
16 Mar 2008

Crisis? What crisis?

ACCORDING TO AP, China blocked YouTube today, after videos were posted
showing the protests in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa on Friday, against
the ongoing Chinese occupation. China’s state controlled media had not
reported the violent riots in Tibet, but the government was obviously
not quick enough to muzzle YouTube before Chinese surfers got wind of
what was going on.

On Saturday, the first images appeared online, along with video streamed
foreign news reports, photos, and commentary. But today, any of China’s
210 million Internet users who try to access the popular U.S based video
site will only get a blank screen.

Censorship is frequent in China, with the government regularly blocking
content considered either politically subversive or pornographic. These
include human rights web sites and foreign media. There is also no
anonymity for Internet café users, who are also forced to present their
identification before they are allowed to log on to the Net.

Reuters also reports that bloggers have been particularly vocal about
Friday’s events, making good use of China’s thriving online chatrooms,
bulletin boards and Web logs. Chinese and Tibetan nationalists have
spent most of the weekend attacking one another in Cyber space as well
as on Lhasa’s streets. Chinese censors have been busy rushing around
trying to remove the politically motivated comments wherever they are found.
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