Chinese officials decided to block their citizensâ€™ access to The New York Times, both the English and the Chinese versions of the websites, in reaction to a text about the Chinese prime ministerâ€™s hidden estate published yesterday.
The Chinese government also decided to ban all mentions of The Times or of the prime minister, Wen Jiabao, on Sina Weibo, the most popular micro blogging service in China and local homologue of Twitter.
This comes as no surprise, as it isnâ€™t the first time China restricts usersâ€™ access to a news portal when an article doesnâ€™t fit the local administration norm.
China has in place one of the most sophisticated Internet censorship systems in the world â€“ the Great Firewall of China – with an army of people screening Internet content to adapt and delete it if it goes against the government. Some articles are entirely rewritten and made to fit regional standards. They have firewalls to block content by denying access to certain IP addresses and, when necessary, they may even engage in DNS poisoning to redirect web requests to other web pages more suited for Chinese eyes.
Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The Times, hopes â€œfull access [to the website] is restored shortlyâ€, as they â€œwill ask the Chinese authorities to ensure that [their] readers in China can continue to enjoy New York Times journalismâ€ especially since the Chinese version of The New York Times had great success in the area.