BEIJING (Dec. 20) – China has blocked access to the New York Times Web site, the newspaper said Saturday, days after the central government defended its right to censor online content it deems illegal.
Computer users who logged on in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou received a message that the site was not available when they tried to connect on Friday morning, the paper said. Some users were cut of as early as Thursday evening, it said.
The Web site remained inaccessible from Beijing Saturday.
It was not clear if the move was meant to block specific content on the newspaper’s Web site or if it was a return to stricter censorship of the Internet in general. Beijing loosened some media and Internet controls during the 2008 Summer Olympics — gestures that were meant to show the international community that the games had brought greater freedom to the Chinese people.
A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said they do not deal with Web sites. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which regulates the Internet, could not be reached for comment.
Earlier this week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao defended China’s right to censor Web sites that have material deemed illegal by the government, saying that other countries regulate Internet usage too.