The new normal: China blocks YouTube over Tibet

Cutting off the Internet has become now every authoritarian government's first response to internal strife.

By Farhad Manjoo
Published March 17, 2008 3:42PM (EDT)

It's becoming every authoritarian government's first response to internal strife: Block the Web so the world can't see what's going on.

Last year the junta in Burma cut off Internet access as it cracked down on protests. Now the Chinese government, which is fighting protests in Tibet, has blocked YouTube after people posted videos showing protests in Lhasa, Tibet's capital. The government also blocked Google News, apparently in an effort to close down access to international news reports on Tibet.

China, which has more than a hundred million Web users, regularly censors the Internet. The Associated Press reports that folks in China trying to log on to YouTube on Sunday were presented with a blank screen.

The Shanghaiist blog says that people can still get YouTube through a VPN service.

Here's a non-YouTube link for a phone-cam video capture of the protests. Find more media, and comments from folks in China, at Boing Boing.

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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