Twenty-five years ago China cracked down on mostly student pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The government blocked most news from reaching its people and now the government is cutting national access to Google in order to hide any discussion of the anniversary, according to reports.
The crackdown on June 3 and 4, 1989, has largely been ignored in China, and the government likely wants it to stay that way, according to blog post from GreatFire.org, a censorship-monitoring site. So far Google's search engine, Gmail, Calendar, Translate and other services are affected by the block.
“This is by far the biggest attack on Google that’s ever taken place in China,” a co-founder of GreatFire.org, who asked to remain anonymous, told the New York Times. “Probably the only thing comparable is when the Chinese government first started blocking websites in the 1990s.”
Essentially, users in China can't even reach other versions of Google including Australia or Hong Kong, and apparently the largest block of Google ever -- and the Chinese government is saying it's all Google's fault.
Google says that's not the case. “We’ve checked extensively, and there are no technical problems on our side,” a Google spokeswoman said.
Google shut down operations in 2010 in China after accusations of government censorship. Users in China were directed to use Google Search in Hong Kong. While the government denies censoring the tech titan, many are skeptical of China's stance. It doesn't have a great history of human rights and free speech.
Users are waiting to see if this is a temporary block or will disappear after June 4. Chinese officials have been trying to stomp out discussion or commemoration of Tiananmen Square, including detaining and arresting so-called dissidents.
While there have been some "workarounds," to use Google, the main problem is that the government wants to deny its people a right to discuss its past. In order to cover up what happened, Chinese officials have to stifle current thought and sentiment to the point of absurdity.