Bejing has banned access within China to YouTube and to Google News, in an apparent attempt to block coverage of riots and demonstrations in Tibet, according to several published reports.
Last week, protesters, mainly Tibetian monks, gathered to commemorate the 1959 uprising against Chinese rule that resulted in a number of Buddist clergy, including the Dalai Lama, into exile. The protests have become increasingly violent, with rioting that may have left as many as 80 people dead, some reports said. Chinese government reports have put that number closer to a dozen. YouTube and Google have been specifically targeted by the government and rendered inaccessible in an attempt to stop the spread of video footage and news coverage documenting the riots and protests.
A video entitled, "Protest in Lhasa (Tibet)," exemplifies the types of videos the Chinese government is trying to block. Posted to YouTube by a subscriber known as "Amdo2007," the video offers a minute and 15 second look at the scenes in the streets of Tibet today.
The subscriber writes: "The turmoil in Lhasa occurred at a politically delicate time for China, which is facing increasing criticism over its human rights record as it prepares to play host to the Olympic Games in August and is seeking to appear harmonious to the outside world."
This is not the first time Google has been banned in China; its Internet search site was blocked in 2002.