Access to the Web site of the British newspaper the Guardian has been blocked in China, the newspaper said yesterday, adding that it did not know why.
The Web sites of the New York Times and Bloomberg News have been blocked in China for more than a year after they published reports about the wealth of the family members of former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) respectively.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), anxious to maintain power and preserve stability, routinely blocks access to foreign news Web sites it deems inappropriate or politically sensitive.
The Guardian cited an anti-censorship Web site, greatfire.org, as saying that its Web site was first blocked on Tuesday.
“The reasons for the Guardian block are unclear — no China-related stories published by the Guardian in the past two days would obviously be perceived as dangerous by the country’s leadership,” the newspaper said in an article on its Web site.
Access to the Guardian, and other blocked Web sites, is limited to people with virtual private networks that can bypass China’s Internet blocking mechanism, known as the Great Firewall.
When asked about the Guardian’s Web site being blocked, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) said: “This is the first time I have heard of this.”
“I don’t understand the situation. You can inquire with China’s relevant department,” she said at a daily news briefing.
The Guardian said a report on Monday it ran explored tension in Xinjiang, but added that the newspaper “has covered the subject before without any noticeable fallout.”
Neither the New York Times Co nor Bloomberg News was given new journalist visas for more than a year, but last month the government renewed the accreditations for several of their reporters.
The Chinese-language Web sites of Thomson Reuters and the Wall Street Journal were blocked in the middle of November last year. The Web sites became accessible on Dec. 25.