A teenage tourist wears a T-shirt displaying a logo of the Chinese Communist Party as he visits Tiananmen Square on May 27 in Beijing. / Alexander F. Yuan, AP
The battle between Chinese authorities and the free flow of information has escalated as Wednesday's 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 nears, according to a censorship watchdog.
GreatFire.org, a group that has been monitoring disruptions to websites and other platforms in China since 2011, said Monday that Google's services in particular face severe disruptions.
"All Google services in all countries, encrypted or not, are now blocked in China. This blockage includes Google search, images, translate, Gmail and almost all other products. In addition, the block covers Google Hong Kong (China's version of Google), Google.com and all other country specific versions, e.g. Google France," GreatFire said.
It is forbidden to discuss the struggle for democracy in China, which has left as many as 2,600 dead. Chinese authorities routinely tighten security before the anniversary each year.
GreatFire said that of the 1,000 top website domains - as compiled by Amazon's Alexa - 71 are fully blocked in China. Of the 983 Wikipedia pages that GreatFire monitors, 269 are blocked.
"It is not clear that the block is a temporary measure around the anniversary or a permanent block. But because the block has lasted for four days, it's more likely that Google will be severely disrupted and barely usable from now on," the Greatfire website says.
Google confirmed that the disruptions are not on its end.
In a separate development Monday, Guo Jian, a Chinese-born Australian artist and former protester in China's pro-democracy movement, was detained by authorities after a profile of him appeared in this past weekend's Financial Times, the Associated Press reported. The artist, previously a soldier, said he will be held until June 15.
Several activists have been detained by the Chinese government in advance of the anniversary.
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