announced that its video-sharing service YouTube has been
blocked in mainland China.
Chinese authorities seem to have started
blocking the site days ago, but only yesterday, after traffic ground to a halt, did Google officially
admit that the site was indeed being blocked.
BBC News and Reuters report that the service was blocked because it was
hosting video of Chinese soldiers beating Tibetan monks. China's state
news agency Xinhua said that supporters of the Dalai Lama
had in fact fabricated a video depicting Chinese police officers
brutally beating Tibetans in Lhasa.
YouTube also hosts other videos that could be seen as objectionable by
Chinese authorities, such as footage of the Tiananmen Square massacre
Web censorship is on the rise in China. Earlier this year authorities
embarked on a programme to block sites with pornographic content, but
many critics point out that China's battle against porn has often been
used to silence dissidents without causing as much negative publicity
as its usual 'harmonization' policies.