New Google site blocked in China

User postings say a Google question-and-answer site is inaccessible from China

A newly launched Google site for Chinese users appears to be blocked in China just days after it went online.

Google Wenda , a question-and-answer service, was launched less than two weeks ago. But postings on the site show users have been asking why the site has been blocked in China since as far back as July 29.

"Why has Google Wenda been blocked?" and "Who can tell me where is the future of Google Wenda going?" ask some of the postings. Attempts to access the site from Beijing on Monday failed to bring up the page.

Google spokeswoman Jessica Powell said the company's sites are operating technically fine, but she declined to comment on whether the site was being blocked by the Chinese government. China's Internet regulator, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, could not be reached for comment.

The possible site blockage comes after the company decided in March to stop censoring its search results in the country. The move has risked costing Google business in China as well as drawing the ire of Chinese officials. Last month Google faced the possible shutdown of its China site, Google.cn, when its operating license went up for renewal. Authorities, however, decided to renew the license.

Since Google's decision to stop censoring its search results, the company has also been restructuring its services. One result of that is Google Wenda. The site went online after the company ended its deals earlier this month with Tianya, one of China's most popular Internet forums. In doing so, Google stopped offering technical support to Tianya's question-and-answer service, and instead quickly went on to establish its own with Google Wenda.

Although some of the postings on Google Wenda ask why the site has been blocked, users also note they plan on finding ways to "scale the wall" of China's censorship to continue visiting the site.

"I will continue coming," one user wrote. "The wall can be crossed over. Furthermore, one day it will be pushed over!"

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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